honey, it’s your ficus on the phone

Are you taking care of your plants? If not they’ll call you and tell you. Such is the project of Botanicalls. Not only will they call you and tell you about their light and soil conditions but you can call them back and ask about their status.

via Treehugger,

The system currently involves a soil moisture sensor, hardware and software to interpret that data, and a call to a lounge phone; phase [two] will include a bunch of new features including a light sensor, display, ambient sensors, output to the web and email, as well as calls to your personal cell phone (not just the one connected to the plant).

Of course, the plants could talk to the watering hose directly but that would loosen the connection between nature and human, so I applaud the goals of the company to:

  1. Keep the plants alive by translating the communication protocols of the plants (leaf habit, color of foliage, droop, etc) to more common human communication protocols (email, voice phone calls, digital visualizations, etc).
  2. Make a connection between people and plants. Explore/enhance/create/visualize people’s emotional connection to plants, the ways plants help humans, how caring for a shared resource can create sense of community, how natural life is a valuable counterpoint to our technical environment.

In phase three, I’d like to see the plants talking to each other, coupled with some AI software to see if any behaviours emerge (“Hey, I see you like your fancy orchids better than me, your ficus. What gives?” or “We’re using craigslist to scrape the phone numbers of some more considerate plant owners so we can call them!”). There’s all sorts of ways that plants could conspire against their owners.

In the meantime, listen to to Scotch Moss complain that it hasn’t received enough water.

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