Swiss firm creates thoroughly green Wi-Fi tech

A Wi-Fi houseplant monitor highlights the possibilities of low-power always-on sensor networks.


Swiss start-up Koubachi has developed a low-power Wi-Fi sensor that tells you how best to care for your houseplants.

It monitors temperature, light and soil humidity, and uses your Wi-Fi to send the readings to Koubachi's servers, where they are checked against a database of popular plants. Care instructions are then sent back via email or an iPhone app, with an Android app in the works.

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For IT teams, the sensor's underlying technology is more widely applicable. Koubachi said it has worked extensively to ensure its Wi-Fi consumes as little power as possible, and claimed that the device will run for at least a year on a pair of AA batteries.

It said the plant monitor is only the first of a range of low-power sensors that will layer home automation-type capabilities onto existing Wi-Fi networks, as part of the so-called "internet of things".

If it is houseplants that are your thing, though, Koubachi said its plant database is expanding to some 300 houseplants, including some herbs and vegetables. The sensor costs 190, and can be moved from plant pot to plant pot once it has measured each one's environment.

The next release of the software will allow it to simultaneously monitor multiple plants, for example in a window box or atrium.

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Interestingly, the name is apparently a play on the Tamagochi toys that were popular a some years ago the iPhone app looks like a virtual garden.

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