Monitor your world with $39 Motes sensors

Wimoto's Motes Indiegogo project wants to put small environmental sensors into the hands of anyone with a smartphone.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
This Growmote monitors your plants for water, light, and cold. Wimoto

You're sitting in the living room. You're wondering if the Mother-in-Law's Tongue growing in a pot in the back room needs to be watered. You could get up and stick your finger in the dirt, or you could check your smartphone and see what the plant's personal sensor says.

The Motes Indiegogo project offers several different flavors of remote sensors that work with iOS devices (Android and Surface coming soon). Each sensor costs $39. That price point and the variety of sensors available has attracted plenty of interest. The Motes project has already doubled its $22,000 goal with 35 days of fundraising left.

Here's a rundown of the Bluetooth-equipped Motes. The Climote measures temperature, humidity, and light. The Gromote checks plants for watering needs, light levels, and potential frosts. The Thermote noncontact thermometer can be pointed at anything you like and will measure the temperature. The Securimote has both an infrared motion detector and an accelerometer.

Each Mote can get up to a year of life out of the battery. The sensor data works with an app that offers a lot of flexibility. You can get alerts if a room gets too hot, a plant needs watering, or if the humidity level around your expensive guitars is dropping. You can also just check in on your sensors to see what's going on. The app can handle 128 Motes.

The Motes don't have to be sending data all the time. You can leave them alone and let the internal memory collect information over preset intervals or whenever an alert condition happens. All-in-all, the Motes are simple devices with a clean interface at a decent price. That's why they're doing so well on Indiegogo. It's another step in making sensors more accessible to all.