Feed me, Seymour!

Botanicalls let your plants do the talking.

Botanicalls display at the ITP 2006 Winter Show
Botanicalls display at the ITP 2006 Winter Show Botanicalls

Many people talk to their plants, but aside from Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, and maybe the AeroGarden , how many plants actually talk back?

A new sensor system allows plants to ring their owners up when they want service.

Ambient sensors detect humidity, temperature, light and CO2/oxygen availability in the plant's vicinity. The info is then matched against a plant database in a server that can trigger an e-mail or phone call to the owner when appropriate. The phone calls are coordinated by the open-source telephone platform Asterisk. Depending on the plant's determined needs, the Asterisk system generates the call and plays the appropriate audio file.

Interested black thumbs can also dial the Botanicalls hotline (212.202.8348) to hear a voice message detailing a particular plant's habits. The Scented Geranium, for example, said in her husky voice: "touch me to release my fabulous scent" and "I am easy to propogate."

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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