by HIRAL PATEL Staff Writer
The popular toy company Koubachi has created a sensor and application that works with iPhones and Androids to alert users about the status of their plants. The company, famous for their Tomagachi toys, created an app that works by embedding a small sensor into the soil at the base of the plant. The sensor runs on two double A batteries, and will run for 18 months. “It kind of resembles a stone that is in the plant,” says Phillipp Bolliger, the inventor of the system and CEO of Koubachi. The app works over Wi-Fi to connect to user phones. Users receive a text message from the app in categories concerning water control, temperature, and light advice and location. These messages can be set to hourly, daily, or even weekly intervals. “The time settings are good if you’re planning to go on vacation,” says freshman Richa Patel. The water control works with a moisture sensor. This sensor looks up your plant’s exact watering needs and tells you if you are over or under watering. The temperature control is basically a thermometer that lets users know the plant’s preferred temperature. The last category is the light advice and location. The sensor monitors how much light your plant is absorbing. This is helpful when determining the location of your plant. The app also has a built-in botanic encyclopedia, which the app uses to compare to the plant’s current condition. Users can scroll through choices of hundreds of plants and monitor up to several plants at once. “I could really use one of those. Every year, I buy marigold seeds and every year they die. It’s too bad I can’t afford it,” says freshman Chrystal Stasticky. The high tech app and sensor cost 99 pounds or $155. Many people say this advance in technology is a good change; the new technology is expected to spread and be used by ecologists around the world within the next year. “It’s not damaging the environment as long as people take out the batteries, and it can help us to grow new plants in places like forests and farms.” says Stasticky. The system’s main feature, the Wi-Fi plant sensor, is designed by Koubachi in Switzerland. Creators all already working on upgrades for the system. While building the gadget, the creators kept quality in mind. They wanted to make sure that “an emphasis had been put on the use of high quality and long lasting materials as well as an elegant, smooth and honest design that seamlessly blends with the plants’ environment,” according to the Koubachi website. The company also promises that “the Wi-Fi Plant Sensor measures very accurately even in extremely dry and wet conditions-where it matters most.” Koubachi has plans to expand its distribution centers over the United States and parts of Canada.