New plant sensor helps people know when their plants need a drink

Users can monitor soil moisture through the helloplant app. Photo: helloplantUsers can monitor soil moisture through the helloplant app.
Photo: helloplant

Not everyone has a green thumb, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like plants. They just aren’t good at keeping them alive.

Software engineer Peter Honeder struggled with the same problem of keeping his plants alive, so he decided, along with Stefan Oberpeilsteiner, to create a smart sensor that could inform the users of the plant’s needs.

“I love all of my plants, but I simply had no overview when to water them,” Honeder said.

Thus helloplant was born. This smart sensor is able to measure soil moisture, light intensity, ambient and soil temperature. Using Bluetooth to connect to the user’s phone, the sensor can send notifications to their smartphone whenever their plant needs something, without them having open the app.

Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, helloplant’s setup is straightforward. After placing the helloplant sensor in a planter, take a picture of the plant and name it in the app. Then add some basic information from the plant’s tag. After that, it is ready to go and will alert the user if the plant needs anything.

Helloplant doesn’t need internet and there is an optional remote hub, which allows the user to access the sensor’s data if they are traveling and can also connect to Amazon’s Alexa.

The technology helloplant uses includes, an ambient light sensor, a capacitive soil moisture sensor and two temperature sensors, one for soil and one for air.

Currently helloplant is on Kickstarter with a starting price of $22. The campaign has a pledged goal of $35,704, but has collected a little over $50,000 right now.

According to Honeder’s timeline, they will start shipping the helloplant sensors in March 2018.

Check out the video below to learn more about this tool for serial plant killers and plant lovers alike.

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