Flower Power sensor gives everyone green fingers

Are you one of those people that, as soon as they are get a new plant, it is merely a matter of time before the poor thing is just a sad, dried mass of shrivelled leaves? Then a new gadget called Flower Power, unveiled at the International CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada yesterday, could be just the thing to help you pretend your fingers really are green.

Developed by Parrot, the French firm that brought us the quad-rotor AR drone, Flower Power is a Bluetooth-enabled stick that you simply shove in the soil with your plant, after having chosen from a list of around 6000 plants which one you are trying not to kill. Sensors in the stick monitor the moisture in the soil, sunlight and whether you need to add any more fertiliser and then send that info via a low-powered version of Bluetooth to the cloud. It's meant to keep on sending data for up to six months before needing a battery change.

The data is analysed and compared with set parameters for the particular type of plant. "We think of it as putting your garden on the internet," says Henri Seydoux, Parrot's CEO. The stick and accompanying Android app are due to be released later this year.

The app displays all the info you need about your plant and flags up areas of concern using colour-coded warning signs, telling you when your beloved bit of flora needs a top up. Graphs show you how they are all faring. In theory, it will leave little excuse for killing that plant that was given to you by your friendly neighbour. In practice, I probably still will. But at least I'll know why this time.

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