The slow but steady robotic takeover of our homes is about to take another step forward -- out the door and into your yard. The Droplet is a robotic watering system that wants to make watering more efficient by aiming at specific plants, rather than indiscriminately watering everything in sight.
The Droplet device looks like someone crossed a Roomba with R2-D2. It doesn't move around like a Roomba, but sits in one spot and hooks up to your garden hose to aim a stream of water at each plant. It knows where to water, how much to water, and what pattern to water thanks to the advanced configuration options accessed through a tablet, smartphone, or computer.
It also tracks the weather and can intelligently choose not to water after a big rainstorm, or water a little less if it just sprinkled a bit. The gadget has a 30-foot range in any direction and can be set to water potted plants, trees, lawns, and even fill outside dog bowls.
Droplet is currently available for preorder on Amazon for $300. That's quite a bit more than a cheap sprinkler head you attach to the end of a hose, but it's plenty competitive compared to the installation of a full-on timed sprinkler or drip-irrigation system. Plus, you can tell everyone about your cool new robot gardener.