Kickstarting an Internet-of-Things for your garden

Eduardo sez, "Students from the University of Illinois have launched a Kickstarter project for an internet of things garden control system. Their product, Plant Link, monitors the soil moisture level for individual plants and alerts gardeners when the plants need to be watered. Plant Link also has the ability to automatically water user's plants via a wireless valve that can be connected to an irrigation system. The 30 day long campaign has already raised over $55,000 of the $75,000 goal after 12 days on Kickstarter."

Plant Link: Listen to your plants


  1. This looks like a solution looking for a problem. Aren’t there already automatic watering systems? Why do I need to be alerted when my plant is thirsty? Especially if it’s going to water itself anyway? But I’m not a gardener. Maybe there’s a very reason for this, other than being kinda cool.

  2. What?!?  You have GOT to be kidding…I love my plants.  I water my plants.

    And By God if I over or under moisturize the soil than so be it: I don’t need some ugly hardware to tell me what is what.

    (make it look like a little ceramic frog and we can talk…)

  3. This does seem to me a  peculiarly useless.  Those who need a device like this to remind them to water will ignore the device as consistently as they will ignore a plant’s need for water.

    Those who don’t use such a device use their hands to test moistness of soil and tend to water their plants from time to time to ensure they don’t dry out and die.
    Seems like a lot of innovation and ingenuity misdirected towards fixing a ‘problem’ (ie, monitoring and water plants), that isn’t really a problem at all. Rather, its part of the pleasure and work involved in having plants that is the whole point of having them!

    1. No. This is designed for people like me, because the first thing I thought is OMFG now even plants are going to be emailing me and wanting stuff. I’m already frustrated that not all of my calendars sync so i’m constantly having to spend one day a week making sure I log reminders and appts in the same place as meetings. Case in point, Thursday, I double booked. My solution is not to have plants. Then they can’t die, but the thought of another thing sending me an alert just made me headdesk. The thing is, if it did I would probably water it. I can see myself being like “Ok, I’ll put the plant watering in for 6:45 tomorrow morning because there’s no way I can make it across town from here and still be in barre class tonight.”

      The thing I can see this being fun for though is some kind of obsessive documentation of the needs of various houseplants and/or some kind of installation piece where participants can watch plants dying or surviving in remote locations through a visual interface.


  4. Great. Now a tomato can email me wanting stuff done and a triffid can have a twitter feed. Progress!
    Ray Bradbury’s “The Murderer” becomes more prescient every day.

    I remember when humans were the superior beings on this world. Now we can be told what to do by peas, ignored by express elevators and door locks, prank called by spambots, loans refused by spreadsheets, our economy trashed by high frequency trading mainframes and prosecuted by digital cameras on the side of the road. The robot apocalypse happened – it was just achieved through email and twitter feeds, not miniguns and terminators.

    Consider Asimov’s laws of robotics vs. a smartphone refusing to make a phone call because you don’t know a PIN.
    Law #2 was never an option.

    1. Also, the developers have managed to devise a “platform” to replace exactly the experience which true gardeners seek and covet- that which comes from nurturing and caring for another living being. Now we can safely redirect our nurturing and attentions back to the artificial intelligence that distracted us from the dumb and boring old biological world.

      I believe it’s quite possible that we are witnessing the genesis of  a different form of life…Hal, open the bay doors…

      edit- plus, who wants to look at those ugly-ass plastic tampons sticking out of the dirt?!

  5. I will say it again. Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. This makes my brain hurt, and makes me seethe that people are funding it. The whole point of gardening is to get in touch with nature, not to fucking social network with it.

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