By Nicole Garbarino
Anyone who has dabbled in gardening knows you either have a green thumb or you don’t. Well, now the IoT is here to help; by planting an Edyn device in your garden and connecting it to your mobile phone, you can know whether your plants need more water or the soil needs more nutrients, and much more. For those who wish to grow their own food or flowers, they can now have a personal garden assistant to help them along the way.
There are numerous devices out there that help with your garden including: PlantLink, Parrot Flower Power, Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor, and Edyn. Their prices range from $55 to $129, and the features range from just tracking moisture content to tracking a magnitude of different elements. One of the products that claims to do it all is Edyn, which is in the process of shipping its products to its Kickstarter backers. Receiving $384,201, Edyn met its original goal of $100,000 by almost four times. At $99 for one sensor it is not the most expensive out of the group, however, this is their Kickstarter price and it specifically says that the price will go up once released on their website (Kickstarter).
The Edyn sensor tracks moisture, light, temperature, soil nutrition, growing seasons for crops, and much more. You can even sync it with the Edyn valve that makes watering your plants even simpler. This valve attaches to your existing water system and does more than just water at a certain time. It tracks the moisture already in the soil along with the weather forecast in that area to know exactly how much water is needed. This can help not only keep your plants alive, but also keep you from over watering while in a drought. This could be extremely beneficial in dryer climates where some households use as much as 60% of their water outside (EPA).
We at JBA ordered two sensors and a valve during their Kickstarter campaign; however, the products are rolling out slowly, so, as of now, we only have our two sensors. Excited we had part of what we ordered, I downloaded the app and tried to connect the sensors right away. I soon became frustrated, though, when neither of them would connect and I could not find anything that would explain why. I finally emailed the company and they sent me a trouble-shooting guide that explained the products would not connect on a 5GHz frequency, only 2.4GHz. I was lucky enough to be able to easily switch to another Wi-Fi that met this requirement; however, I was still frustrated that the product did not come with instructions that stated this. The instructions were actually just a small card that said to get the application on your phone. While reading comments about this product, I found that the limited information also proved to be a big problem when the product had to travel through customs.
When getting into actually using the app, everything seemed fairly easy to use, but we have not had the product long enough to actually know how beneficial it is to growing a better garden, in addition to the fact that our valve will not arrive until later this summer. Edyn is definitely a competitor to the other garden sensors listed earlier, but only having a beta version of their iOS app, and an alpha version for Android, Edyn still has a long way to go and many improvements to make.
When thinking about what this product could mean for the future I get excited. Yes, it helps you not kill your plants, but it has so much more potential: Edyn’s valve could keep those in a drought from using excess water, however, it also can be used as a preventative; keeping cities from having this problem in the first place. Both Edyn’s valve and sensor could also be used in schools to show children exactly what is necessary to grow their food. Using this product for educational purposes can encourage kids to become interested in this field and someday come up with the next big solution in agriculture. With hydroponics becoming more popular, cities are able to grow acres of food in just a small storage container. Edyn’s product could eventually lead to those storage containers becoming self sufficient, and the world being able to support our growing population with enough food.