Smart Home

Netro relies on the cloud and the sun to water your garden

Many homeowners rely on lawn sprinkler systems to water their gardens and lawns. However, traditional lawn sprinkler systems tend to waste a lot of water and don’t always do a great job supplying water exactly where it’s needed.

Netro is a watering system designed for easy use in residential irrigation and is made up of the Sprite cloud-based watering controller and Whisperer, a solar-powered plant sensor. It works in conjunction with an app for Android and iOS mobile devices. Netro helps to reduce unnecessary water usage and keeps gardens healthy.

Connected Objects Health and Wellness Home

EcoQube Air desktop greenhouse clears the air while growing your plants

Growing plants in a home or office can be challenging due to several factors, including the need for adequate light and the messiness involved in using soil and water.

patent-claimedEcoQube Air is a desktop greenhouse that makes growing plants indoors much easier. As a bonus, it also has been designed to improve the user’s quality of life by purifying the air and providing smart light therapy to combat seasonal affective disorder.

The device uses hydroponics, which provides benefits that include low maintenance, a reduction of water usage by a whopping 90 percent, faster plant growth, and a drain spout for easy water change. Hydroponics is a method of agriculture that grows plants without the use of soil. Using this technique, plants can be grown with a fraction of the amount of resources (water, energy and space) required to grow plants the traditional way, in soil. Plants thrive by absorbing only as much nutrients and water they need.

Smart Home

PlantSitter babysits your plants when you can’t

Plants are easier to take care of than most pets, but they too must be fed -– something that’s not always easy. After all, people can’t always be home and, even when they are, they sometimes forget to feed their plants. Unlike dogs, plants of course don’t bark when they’re hungry. (At least, they shouldn’t.)

PlantSipatent-claimedtter is a soil-mounted, smart plant monitoring system that uses sensors to help owners care for their plants. If a plant doesn’t have enough water, PlantSitter will detect that and send the user a message immediately. The device also measures the nutrition levels in the soil of a plant by measuring the soil’s electrical conductivity (EC). By measuring the soil’s EC, along with its levels of moisture, PlantSitter can make an estimate of the soil’s nutrition levels.

The patent-pending device works in conjunction with a MiGrow app for Android and iOS mobile devices. PlantSitter gets connected through Bluetooth to a nearby smart device equipped with the app. The app monitors a plant by interpreting the received data and making sure the values are within limits prescribed for that specific plant. Data collected from PlantSitter are stored on the device maker’s servers and users can browse the info by hours, days and weeks.

Connected Objects Home

Planty monitors plants, makes sure they’re feeling well

Plants are an excellent way to brighten up any home. But they need lots of care in order to stay alive. Most plants die because their owners aren’t sure of how exactly to care for them.

Planty offers a solution to that problem. With a sensor that goes directly into the soil, Planty sends the plant’s information via Wi-Fi to an accompanying app. It monitors moisture, soil levels, temperature and light. If the plant is too hot, a notification will be sent to the app. When the soil gets too dry, the app informs the user who can then deliver water to the plant with the push of a button. Planty’s smart pot is simply designed with a white round base that plugs into the wall.

Backerjack has seen many other smart planters like the Daisy and GreenVase. Planty sets itself apart with a sleeker design and a more versatile sensor. One will cost backers a donation of $99 with delivery in November 2015. The company seeks $100,000 on Kickstarter by May 23.

Food and Beverage Maker/Development

Edu-CADO makes growing guacamole trees easier on green thumbs

Many young children, both boys and girls, love playing around and roughhousing in the dirt. And while getting one’s hands dirty is undoubtedly fun for kids of all ages, it would certainly be nice if parents could inject a bit of education into the mix at the same time.

The Edu-CADO promises to do just that. Edu-CADO is an educational gadget that ultimately helps kids and parents work together to plant a guacamole tree. The device’s avocado seed holder is a modern take on the old fashioned method of sticking toothpicks in the seed and balancing it over a glass of water, though the Edu-Cado is notably toothpick-free. The green plastic Edu-CADO contraption offers a more stable way to balance an avocado seed over a glass of water as it houses a pocket for the seed, holes for the roots, and four hardy arms to hold it all together. Though specific measurements aren’t provided, the device appears to be compatible with pretty much any size glass or mug you might have in your cupboard.

Edu-CADO provides a fun activity for both kids and adults who want to exercise their green thumb. It also presents a new and improved way for nature-oriented homeowners to plant a tree in their own backyards. Other easy and fun gardening items worth checking out include NutriTower and Powerguard Greenhouse. This campaign seeks to raise $9500 by April 13, 2015. Backers can pick up one product for $7 with an expected delivery of Aug 2015.


Roka filter uses sand, charcoal to filter water for plants, makes for healthier growth

Plants are only ever as healthy as the water they’re given. Most pay little attention to the quality of the water they use for their plants. Doing so, however, means that many plants get contaminated water, harming them in the long run.

Roka is a filtration system for plants. Looking much like an upside down glass bottle with the bottom cut off, Roka gets inserted directly into the soil of the plant. Then, using several layers of filtration, the kit delivers only clean water into the soil. The top layer is fine sand which gets pathogens and microorganisms out of the water. Second, course sand keeps the fine sand above at bay. Third, charcoal pellets get chlorine and industrial solvents out. Last, the water passes through cotton balls which ensure that none of the sand or charcoal get into the plant. For one kit, backers can donate $50 on Kickstarter for delivery in July 2015. Roka hopes to raise a modest $1,750 in funding.

While the idea of a natural filtration system is appealing, it doesn’t seem necessary to filter tap water, especially for plants. Perhaps in places where the tap water is undrinkable Roka makes more sense. In addition, the campaign fails to clearly state how long each kit will last for. Still, the idea is interesting and Roka’s appealing aesthetic will surely make it popular.

Home Pets

Vegua fish tank keeps fish as pets, cleans itself with fresh herbs on top

Pets and plants are two of the best things one can have to make a house a home. Both, however, require some maintenance.

The Vegua fish tank provides both the fun of fish and the nutrition of fresh herbs with the least amount of work possible. This mini eco-system keeps itself going with very little help from anyone. The waste from the fish feeds and waters the plants. In turn, the plants consume everything that makes the tank dirty so it never needs to be cleaned. To feed the fish, just put a small amount of food in the compartment on top. Vegua can support a variety of fish and plantlife from goldfish and bloodfin tetras to basil and mint.

We’ve seen other tanks like this one in the past, such as Avo. This is a nifty little idea that brightens up anyone home. It also has the added perk of growing fresh herbs. Too bad it isn’t completely self-sufficient as the fish still need to be fed. For their own, backers can donate €239 (~$364). Vegua is hoping to raise €120,000 (~$182,900) on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects

Give your plants a voice with the Daisy app and sensor

It’s said that talking to plants will help them grow both faster and stronger, but what most gardeners would actually enjoy more than talking to their plants is having their plants talk to them. Unless someone is an expert, the process of caring for all types of different plants would be made so much easier if each said exactly what they needed at all times.

Although the Daisy sensor and app doesn’t actually give your plants a voice per se, it does the next best thing. By sticking the sensor into the plant’s soil, the combination temperature, light, and water sensor uses Bluetooth LE to send pertinent alerts to a user’s smartphone whenever a plant needs water or is generally stressed.

The app also catalogs all of the greenery in a user’s collection, providing technical information through easily accessibly wiki pages and allowing personalization with customizable names and pictures. The Daisy PRO is available for those with larger plants and trees in their care, and retails for $69. For everyone else, two standard Daisy sensors goes for $34 with an expected delivery in June 2015. The campaign is looking for $50,000.

The Daisy is an engaging way to interact with the responsibilities placed on gardeners or just average people taking care of some green in their home or apartment. While other products like the actually waters the plants itself, the Daisy app actually provides users with valuable information which may prove to be more beneficial in the long run.


GreenVase keeps indoor plants watered for up to three weeks

Studies show that having plants in the home can improve productivity and mood. Plants are a welcome addition to any room, but like any other living thing, require some maintenance. Without the proper amount of water, plants will wilt and die.

With GreenVase, watering is no longer a worry. This vase consists of three parts, a soil pot, a water tank and a rope. With four settings, it will keep the plant watered for up to three weeks. Plants that need tons of water get it on the highest setting, while more finicky plants won’t get over-watered with the lower settings.

It’s interesting to see a product like this that doesn’t involve Bluetooth or a smartphone app. The rope is what distributes the water to the soil. It’s incredible that the GreenVase can keep plants watered for up to three weeks. It must be said that smart planters, like the Daisy si, can monitor moisture levels and distribute water accordingly. However, if the plant never moves and the temperature remains relatively stable, there’s really no need for manual watering. GreenVase may not be as accurate as smarter waterers, but it doesn’t really need to be.

Backers can have their very own for a donation of $29 for estimated delivery in May 2015. GreenVase is looking to raise $101,000 by mid January on Kickstarter.

Home Smart Home

Keep plants from being thirsty, full with Blossom Wi-Fi smart watering system

Up to 50% of the water used to hydrate lawns and garden is wasted. As the water situation is getting worse, especially in California, homeowners need to ensure that they’re being responsible in the way they water their lawns.

Blossom is a smart watering device that saves water. This sensor connects to an app that lets the user view each zone of their garden and schedule when to water them. The app will show what is being watered and how much time it has left. In addition, it connects with local weather data to adjust watering based on temperature and rainfall. Blossom also boasts a far-reaching connection between sensors and app using both Powerline and Wi-Fi to do so. Watering can be controlled not just from a smartphone, but also from a tablet or laptop as well.

Smart watering systems are the way to go, saving plants from dying and money on water bills. In addition, they’re environmentally friendly, conserving water so that everyone wins. Unlike the similar Sprinkl, however, Blossom lacks the integration of water conservation policies in any town, a useful feature to add, but does feature app integration making it ultimately more convenient. One Blossom will cost backers $119 for estimated delivery in February 2015. Blossom is hoping to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter.