The Parrot Flower Power is a sophisticated gardening gizmo designed to keep your plants, herbs and flowers alive and healthy. Boasting four different sensors and an inbuilt database of over 2000 plant species, the Flower Power is capable of delivering tailor-made advice to your garden via iPad or iPhone (an Android version is also in the pipeline.) If your green thumb is tinged with the blood of innocent plants, the Flower Power could literally be the life-saver you're looking for.
Parrot is perhaps best known for producing the AR Drone, but its latest creation is ditching would-be aviators for rookie gardeners.
The Flower Power looks like one of those miniature tree branch ornaments that old ladies and hippies like to stick into pot plants. However, it's actually an electronic gardening assistant that connects to iOS devices via Blutooth. Once inserted into the soil, the user simply selects any nearby plants on the corresponding app and the Flower Power will keep close tabs on their condition.
The unit houses four separate sensors that monitor light intensity, ambient temperature, soil moisture and fertilizer levels, with real-time alerts sent to your iPhone whenever a plant needs your assistance. For example, if your plant is becoming parched the app will send you a warning so you don't forget to water it. Likewise, if it senses that temperatures are too high for a specific species of plant, the Flower Power will let you know before it even begins to wilt.
The importance of quick action is also highlighted via a coloured scale. The sensors record data every 15 minutes and automatically sends it to connected devices when they are within range (five to 25 meters).
The Flower Power has been designed to work in a pot or in open ground and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor settings -- it's water resistant and will remain operational in temperatures ranging from -10° C to 55° C.
Naturally, it needs to be inserted into the soil as close to the plant as possible; this is to help ensure that the watering is distributed evenly and that the conditions of soil drainage, sunlight/sunshine and temperature are the same for all plants. Parrot recommends a distance of no more than 10 centimetres which means you'll likely need multiple Flower Powers for a single garden. (Alternatively, you could move the single device around during the day -- one Flower Power can store up to 256 plants simultaneously.)
The database of unique plant information was supplied by Wageningen University in The Netherlands, the centre of urban horticulture at Washington university and the greenhouses of Agrocampus Ouest in Angers, France to name a few. Each of the 2000 plant species in the app's database has a corresponding picture, which makes it possible to identify plants in your garden even if you don't know what they are called.
The Flower Power will be available this month with a recommended retail price of $79.99 and in a choice of three colours: green, brown or blue. You can download the free Flower Power app from the Apple Store. Parrot is promising an Android version in the near future, but in the meantime non-Apple users can access a web app. You can find out a bit more about the technology behind the Flower Power in the video below: