From internet-controlled light switches to a tabletop surface for the kitchen that’s straight out of [insert your favorite sci-fi film or TV series here] it’s been hard to keep up with the onslaught of brainy gadgets and gizmos coming out of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (MNN’s Jim Motavalli is there, struggling to comprehend “realistic animated messages” while Jaymi Heimbuch of sister site TreeHugger recently published an excellent think piece/dispatch after a full day amongst the maddening crowds).

So where to begin? Let’s start in the gardening gadget department, where a new take on an old (unnecessary?) concept has been introduced by the Bluetooth specialists over at Paris-based firm Parrot: a wireless, sensor-based gizmo that helps you keep houseplants alive.

Not too dissimilar from Botanicalls, Koubachi, or hydroponics-based “personal gardening assistant” Bitponics, the tong/tuning fork-shaped Flower Power (of course they named it that) is described as “the most advanced” plant sensor and is capable of taking measurements of sunlight, soil moisture, ambient temperature, pH levels, and fertilizer all in an effort to prevent amateur/lazy gardeners from inadvertently committing flora-cide.

As Endgadget explains, after Flower Power is inserted into a pot and a plant’s vitals are measured “the data is sent to the cloud via Bluetooth Smart for analysis before coming back to your mobile device, and you'll be able to look up Parrot's ‘library of thousands of plants’ for the extra care for your herbal friends.” The device — which runs on an AAA battery and comes in “emerald” or “wood” finishes — also automatically sends the user updates and alerts based on the latest readings. Parrot has not yet announced a price for the device which is slated to be released later this year.

Okay, so there’s definitely a market for this (I fully admit that I’d benefit from a helping hand in the indoor plant-tending department) and I’m guessing Flower Power will prevent a fair amount of plant murders/reduce a lot of guilt/make lazy people lazier. But TreeHugger’s Megan Treacy raises a great point: Have we, as a society, become so oblivious as to how to keep a simple plant alive that we need gadgets like this? She writes: “Are we so detached from nature and dependent on technology that we can't properly take care of a houseplant?”

It would appear so. As an alternative to gadgetry, Treacy recommends simply observing your plants’ physical condition or buying impossible-to-kill varieties such as bamboo (weirdly, just the other week I departed with mine after watching it suffer a slow and painful death ... we'd spent 2-plus happy years together so I'm just going to blame it on old age). For folks who travel a lot and/or are prone to over/under-watering, I recommend this beauty of a self-watering pot.

Check out the above video and let me know what do you think. Would you buy a wireless plant sensor like Flower Power to help keep your domestic greenery in the bestest of health?

Via [Endgadget], [TreeHugger]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

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