Geek Notes

Sensor for plants

»The French electronics company Parrot, has developed a sensor for plant lovers born without a green thumb. The device, called Parrot Flower Power, analyses the growing conditions of plants and sends you the results. Once inserted in the plant’s soil, either in a pot or open ground, the sensor monitors ambient temperature, fertilizer, light intensity and soil moisture.

When synced to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the device relays the information to an app, which has a broad database of 6,000 plants and trees and the precise needs for each one. The app will also record and chart up to a year’s worth of data. And the sensor will send an alert if action is needed.

Parrot Flower Power, which works only with iOS devices, is available at Brookstone and Verizon stores for $60 (Rs 3,759). It comes with an AAA battery, which provides power for about six months. The sensor measures the soil about 4 inches around it, making it useful for several plants in a single pot, like a window box. With a few sensors, you can oversee the health of an entire garden.

Gregory Schmidt

Smart LEDs

»SlimStyle looks unlike any bulb that has come before - more like a lollipop than a lamp.  Philips’ has cut the weight of its new SlimStyle lamp down to about 3 ounces by eliminating the heat sink found in most other LED lamps.

It has the ability to dim and gets only warm to the touch even after a few hours of illumination, eliminating two shortcomings of LED bulbs. It’s priced less than $10 (Rs 626) at Home Depot.

This 60-watt equivalent uses 10.5 watts of energy. The actual light-emitting diodes ring the lamp’s circumference, creating light in all directions. In a test, the SlimStyle created a dimmable, warm glow that was virtually indistinguishable in quality to a standard incandescent. 

Eric A Taub

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