Now that this whole Internet of Things zeitgeist has really stated to take hold, sensors and other connected gizmos have become fairly common household items. But as the space becomes increasingly crowded, smart devices are starting to move outside the walls of your home. More and more, they’re pushing outward and taking over your lawn and garden.
Case in point: Hydros — the latest entrant into the growing category of smart irrigation systems. We’ve seen this kind of contraption in the past, but that’s not to say that Simple Elements, the company behind the device, doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s quite the contrary, actually.
The other systems we’ve seen, such as Lono and Rachio, rely solely on their Internet-connected brains to determine the best time to water your yard. They tap into weather stations and geological databases to figure out stuff like what kind of soil you’re sitting on, or when a storm is about to roll through. This information is fairly accurate, and can definitely help you save some money on your water bill, but it’s also not particularly precise.
To solve this problem, Hydros takes a slightly different approach. In addition to tapping into the cloud to gather weather data and soil conditions in your area, the system relies on an array of sensors you place around your yard. These little spikes can measure light, temperature, soil type, moisture, and a number of other environmental conditions. In a nutshell, this allows Hydros to know exactly whats going on in your particular patch of land, rather than the just the broader region you’re in. Presumably, this increased accuracy makes the system more efficient.
With these sensors, it knows presicely when to water your yard, and exactly how much water to give it. If a rainstorm just passed over, for example, the moisture sensors will know and intelligently adjust your watering schedule accordingly. If it’s too hot out, the system might hold off and move the watering time to later in the evening when there’s a lower chance of water loss due to evaporation.
Simple Elements also built a special learning algorithm into the device, so even without any input from the user, it starts to learn what’s good for your lawn over time and tease out the optimal watering schedule. The idea is that with all these smart features working in tandem, Hydros will use only the minimum amount of water needed to keep your lawn and garden looking pristine.
The device isn’t quite available for purchase just yet, but its creators have turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for their first production run. If you back the project now, you can lock down a Hydros system for $160, but as usual, that price is expected to go up once the product officially launches.