The phenomenon of quantification has gone from being a fad to a constant in our lives . Today we can quantify almost any parameter of our life, sleep pattern, activity, kilometers traveled, we can even quantify the amount of coffee we drink during the day. What was the next step? Expand the horizons of monitoring, going beyond ourselves, quantifying what surrounds us.
Parrot, famous among other things for its free hands, was one of the first manufacturers to take this step, deciding to go into the world of plants to execute it. This is where the Parrot Flower Power was born, a small gardener who helps us keep our plants up to date , monitoring their fundamental parameters and warning us of their needs through a magnificently planned application.
Design, a gardener that fits your pot
Its design integrates perfectly with the environment , easily going unnoticed beyond the color we choose. That doesn’t mean that if someone comes to your house and looks at the pot, they won’t be surprised. What is that kind of stem you have on there? Several people have already asked me that question over the last few days.
To this end its shape evokes a plant stem , which will allow it to go unnoticed unless you look at it in detail. This may not be very important if you are going to use it indoors, but it is important if you are going to place it on outdoor plants that are more easily accessible to someone else.
Made of plastic, the Flower Power, despite not being focused on that, has a good feel and its construction is robust because being prepared for both indoor and outdoor use it has to withstand, and stand, without problems the inclemencies of weather, rain, snow, cold or heat.
It works by means of a AAA battery, very well intrigued in one of the stems, and has an approximate autonomy of six months , although in my case, after three weeks of test, the remaining autonomy indicated by the application is eight months.
Much more than something curious
Despite the curious approach, Parrot has not taken it lightly, and has brought out the product after years of research and development with numerous universities and companies. Using four sensors, the Flower Power will measure the four parameters that cover the basic needs of a plant : temperature, sunlight level, humidity and fertilizer.
- Soil Moisture Measurement: To measure soil moisture, the Flower Power measures the dielectric constant, which will be higher the more water there is in the soil.
- Temperature: The temperature is measured by a thermistor. In order to make more accurate measurements, two thermistors are included, one for air temperature and one for soil temperature. This is an essential parameter since each plant has a range of supported temperatures.
- Sunlight level: Photosynthesis is key for a plant and without it there is no life. The Flower Power measures the level of sunlight, averaging the solar irradiation and also in terms of exposure time.
- Fertilizer: To measure the amount of fertilizer the Flower Power is based on the electrical conductivity. When talking about it, what is measured is the amount of ions present in the soil. Fertilizers contain ions so the more ions measured in the soil, the greater the amount of fertilizer it contains.
The application, the center of it all
To talk about Flower Power without mentioning the application that Parrot has created to manage all the data it offers us would be to leave the analysis half done. Flower Power cannot be understood without its application . Through this application, the Flower Power will be connected to our iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and we will be able to evaluate the status of our plants using all the data obtained from its four sensors.
The first thing we will have to do is to configure the plants associated with the device, being able to associate up to 3 located in the same pot , creating a profile in which we will be able to include data like its location, name, photograph to identify it and to choose the type of plant within the data base facilitated by Parrot, a catalogue with more than 6,000 varieties of plants.
Once the plant has been chosen, we can access an identification card with its origins, photos, basic needs and numerous practical tips. In my case, during the weeks that this analysis has lasted, I have put Flower Power in charge of an orchid, which is still in great shape.
Every fifteen minutes the sensors take data and send the information to the iPhone, synchronizing via Bluetooth 4.0 if the iPhone is in range. In case it is not, the Flower Power can store up to 80 days of information , although this is a point I will discuss later when talking about the application.
All this data allows Flower Power to inform us about the health status of our plants, and make short-term predictions about the care they need , care that is shown in a calendar, in which we can see the tasks to be done as well as the forecasts for the next days, next watering, etc, receiving notifications every time we have a task pending. In addition to these notifications and daily reports, it is also possible to receive the sensor data in Live mode, to see in real time the needs of our plants monitored with the device.
I’d like to stop and talk in detail about the timing. As I said before, every 15 minutes the data will be synchronized if we are within the range, which is no more than 5 meters, something that, without a doubt, should be improved in successive versions . This is one of the biggest “buts” I have found in Flower Power. If you locate the plant in a not very busy place in your house, and, for whatever reason, you don’t pass by it with your iPhone, no data will be synchronized, so you won’t be able to receive notifications and it won’t do its job. Expanding the scope could be a solution.
In addition to that, I have noticed a certain sensitivity when you move the plant or if, for example, you decide to move the Flower Power in the pot, both times I have done this, it has been lost for hours even though, once he asked me if I have changed the plant, I have indicated that I have not. Parrot Flower Power
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A good idea, with some but
The best of the whole set, which gives it meaning, is undoubtedly the system of notices . Without it, Flower Power would be nothing more than a pile of data that we could analyse more or less correctly, but which would not fulfil its role as a watchdog in the shadow of our plants. Thanks to the notifications we will not miss any task and we will not have to constantly check the status of our plants.
Whether you are, like me, a forgetful person who sometimes doesn’t remember that his plants need to be fed too, or if you are a plant lover who enjoys giving them the utmost care, the Flower Power suits you. It will warn you if you forget your plants and inform you in detail of their situation .
It’s true that in the day to day his presence is barely imperceptible since you don’t have to interact with him just yet, and this is an aspect that can make us think that his price, 49.90 euros, is excessive, but his work in the shade is his main asset , and, Except for the detail of the range or certain failures in the synchronization, which can be perfectly caused by some clumsiness of mine, this nice gadget fulfills its mission and will end up making a hole among your essentials if you have plants and want to take care of them with care.