Thanks to a slew of sensors, Grovio takes the hassle out of houseplant care

grovio smart plant watering img 20170501 100439
Office and home flora brighten any room — not to mention reduce carbon dioxide, keep air temperatures down, and get rid of pollutants like benzene. But they can be a pain in the rear to care for. If you don’t find them a sunny window and an ideal humidity, it’s pretty much game over — you’ll be staring at wilting, browning leaves before long.

But there’s hope for folks without green thumbs in Grovio, a project from Concepter that aims to take the guesswork out of plant care.

There’s more to Grovio, a 11.8-inch-tall, 1-pound cylinder that connects to a tube and “pot module,” than meets the eye. It packs a light intensity sensor, moisture sensor, air temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and motion sensor that monitor up to three plants simultaneously. And it automatically waters plants according to their specific needs, dispensing tap water from a refillable reservoir (1,600 milliliters) to connected probes.

grovio smart plant watering pic 10

“When habitable conditions are not provided, it usually kills [plants] quickly,” Oleksandr Ivanov, Grovio’s chief product engineer, told Digital Trends. “That’s because your plants can’t talk and express directly what they need. They may need very careful and accurate watering. Some of them need more light, and some less. Air temperature and humidity are also highly important.”

It’s a hands-off affair if you want it to be. Grovio lasts for up to 45 days on a single water refill and four AA batteries, and adjusts watering rates based on plant type. But if you prefer to be hands-on with your greenery, Grovio’s “suggestions” mode will nudge you to make small changes that could help with growth. If Grovio detects that a plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, it’ll tell you to move it somewhere shadier.

Grovio’s smartphone app lets you get even more granular. It relays watering settings and current soil conditions for your horticultural pleasure. You can name plants, if you wish, and “interact” with them in a chatbot-like interface — if you name your African Violet “Johnny,” for instance, you’ll get a message from the personified plant when it’s “thirsty.”

grovio smart plant watering img 20170501 100727

Grovio isn’t compatible with smart home platforms like Samsung’s SmartThings and Apple’s HomeKit, but it works with voice assistants like Siri and Alexa.  You can say things like, “Have you monitored my plant yet?” and you’ll get a response.

One thing Grovio can’t do is fine-tune settings for individual plant species, which Ivanov said would have stretched the company’s engineering resources too thin. “You have to build a database of thousands of plants,” he said. “It’s too much work.” Instead, Grovio will encourage users to send pictures of plants to support staff, who will recommend settings based on climatic conditions, genus, and other factors.

Grovio starts at $150. It launches on Kickstarter today for the discounted price of $90, and begins shipping to backers in November.

Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

Hawaiian botanists’ drone discovers a plant thought to be lost forever

In what may well be a world first, botanists in Hawaii recently used a drone to find a species of plant that scientists believed was extinct. The plant was located on a sheer cliff face nearly 20 years after its last sighting.
Smart Home

Google has tips for making your smart home more eco-friendly

Google is announcing new integrations for Google Assistant with energy and water-saving devices for Earth Day. The company is also offering tips on how to cut down on your energy bill.
Smart Home

Grow it, cook it, smoke it: Marijuana tech gadgets for your home and kitchen

Legal marijuana consumers buy around six marijuana products each month. Some of the products we found look like something out of a stoner sci-fi movie. Check out this collection of marijuana tech.
Smart Home

Alexa, how much do you weigh? Questions unlock voice assistant's Easter eggs

Sometimes all we really need is someone to talk to, which is why we've rounded up the best (read: funniest) Easter eggs currently embedded within Amazon's virtual assistant. Apparently, Alexa knows more than you might think.
Smart Home

Virtually walk through dream homes with Zillow’s new A.I.-powered 3D home tours

Home sellers and real estate agents listing properties on Zillow's home marketplace now can add 3D tours for free to their listings. Zillow 3D Home uses artificial intelligence to create tours with 360-degree panoramic photos.
Cars

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by Realtor.com found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.
Smart Home

These are the 13 best games to play on your new Google Home

Google Home is a handy device, but did you know you can play games with it? There are a ton to play, and we tested them all. Here are some of favorites that you can play on your Google Home device.
Smart Home

Best Buy zaps price on Nest Secure alarm, Nest Cam, and Google Home Mini bundle

Best Buy zapped the price of Nest smart home security Nest Secure Alarm and Nest Cam Outdoor bundle and added a Google Home Mini. Nest Detect sensors watch your home inside and out. Stream Nest Cam video in real-time or view clips later.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub get huge price cuts

If you act today you can get an amazing deal on the first-gen Amazon Echo Show on Woot or the current generation Google Home Hub on Rakuten. The Echo Show works with Alexa and the Google Home Hub with Google Assistant.
Smart Home

Video doorbell alert leads homeowner to confront suspected porch pirate

Video doorbells are doing their bit to help homeowners fight back against porch pirates, as this recent incident in California shows. The motion-activated device alerted the owner, who challenged the suspect right on the doorstep.
Deals

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Smart Home

Fast and efficient: LG’s new washer rocks the laundry in half an hour

Laundry is almost always a drag but for those with the means, LG's new high-end, Wi-Fi-enabled washing machines can deliver clean clothes in under 30 minutes using the company's new patented technology.
Smart Home

Grocery shopping wreaks greater havoc on the environment than meal kits

A study by the University of Michigan showed meal kits cause less environmental damage than meals from grocery store ingredients. According to the U-M researchers, grocery store meals produced more greenhouse gas emissions than meal kits.