There have been a proliferation of these recently:
Though I can’t really believe that that woman actually sits there reading a magazine, waiting for her plants to need watering. She should get a hobby. Like building one of these:
Which seems to be an emerging pattern with open-source hardware… all information for free, but sell kits on the side – though I can’t help but noting that neither Etsy nor Lady Ada are currently stocking this item.
The reason I mention it though is because of this:
which is a variant that not only measures soil-moisture but also light strength, humidity, temperature… and logs the data, which you can then upload to their site to compare to a database that they have of plants… and what conditions they prefer.
Quite a nice idea – and dead simple to do… although I couldn’t help but noticing that they say “Plant Sensor uses patent-protected sensors” as though that’s a good thing, rather than an insult to humanity… especially right after they say “We brought NASA Mars Rover Technology down to Earth” – sorry? Don’t taxpayers pay for NASA Technology? Well they can go fuck themselves up the chuffers. The only reason I’d buy one is to reverse-engineer it and put the designs up on the web.
Still… that aside. I really like the idea of this when applied to various larger scales… it kindof ties in with the WorldChanging.com idea of using cellphones to monitor environmental conditions globally – so we can be far more responsive to changes in local conditions etc.
I think it might also help people with backyard-farming – which is a fairly crucial component of “buying out at the bottom“, which is a fairly crucial component of humanity surviving the 21st century, in my most humble of opinions.
I’ve got this vague vision of rfid enabled censors for pretty much everything being scattered like confetti all over the place… they can network together and in a dead-simple mycelium type way, cover the entire planet. Whether we like it or not, The Universal Mind is becoming omnipotent. Firstly it was the CCTV cameras and webcams, now it’s about a billion people with cellphones and web connections. Sooner or later it’s going to become botnetified (mp3).