I buy house plants. I kill house plants. It's the circle of life, but these vicious cycles need not be predestined fate. At CES 2013, Parrot--the company best known for its iPhone-controlled quadricopters--gave us the first glimpse at Flower Power, a fork-like gadget that you stick in your plant's soil to monitor its most important vital signs.
It works like this: Fire up Parrot's iOS app to check a vast database of house plants. Pick your plant, and sync that profile with Flower Power. Now stick the adorable "eco-geek" gizmo into your plant's soil. Sensors all over the device will monitor four flora-sustaining environmental conditions, cross-checking these conditions against your plant's ideal profile.
Flower Power can monitor ambient room temperature, sunlight, moisture, and salinity (the last data point being a reference for fertilizer needs). If your plant needs attention, you'll get alerts on the corresponding iOS app, which also begins to build a personalized health profile over time to help you anticipate plant needs and proactively become a better gardener.
My, it's a wacky concept. And Parrot has determined neither a price nor a release date for Flower Power. But the company promises it will come to market some time in 2013.
Please hurry, Parrot. I have six willing patients that might depend on your quick hardware roll-out. And I'd like to see a "self-watering" option, too.