Berlin, Germany — I'm not sure to ridicule this golf club head-looking gadget I found at the IFA electronics show or admire the utter devotion to its cause — keeping your plants not just alive but practically human.
You stick the Wi-Fi sensor into a plotted plant, fire up the Web or an iOS app, find the sensor on your network, tell it what kind of flora it's stuck next to (the app lists hundreds of species) and then the sensor monitors and lets you know the foliage's water, misting, lighting, temperature or fertilizer needs.
A single sensor plus the iOS app lets you track the conditions of up to nine plants; using the Web app, you can track up to 27 plants.
Here's where things get weirdly serious. You don't have to plant a sensor in each plant. You put it in a plant and tell the app what it is and water it. Then come back in a week and tell the app the plants condition. The app then figures out the best care routine to keep your potted friend happy and healthy. Now stick the sensor in your next plant and repeat the water/wait seven days process. The app tracks all this activity. Once all your plants have been thus calibrated with the app, you stick the sensor into each plant for a month at a time to collect more specific care data.
See? It's silly because unless you've got a complete black thumb (like me — I once killed a cactus, and that's not easy), plants don't need that much attention. They're plants — stick 'em in a window and water them when the leaves start to droop or turn brown. I mean, I know people who don't pay half this much attention to their kids, who need a lot more care.
But one has to admire the single-mindedness that went into developing this — oh, its called the Wi-Fi Plant Sensor and it's from a serious outfit called Koubachi, which I'm sure means something clever but I don't know what. It's available for $89, or around the price of four new plants to replace the ones that died because you forgot to water them.
Posted on location at IFA 2012 in Berlin. All images by Stewart Wolpin for DVICE.