Worried about your plants while you’re on vacation? Oso’s cloud-based wireless plant sensor called the Plant Link could be just the thing.

The Plant Link was developed by a company named Oso, established by a group of current and former graduate students of the University of Illinois.

The operation of the Oso’s Plant Link is similar to the Koubachi’s Wi-Fi Plant Sensor, which we featured here in November 2012. The sensor system monitors the water needs of lawn, garden, or house plants and alerts users when the plants need to be watered. The Plant Link comes with a cloud-controlled valve called the “Smart Valve” that can irrigate your lawn or outdoor plants when needed.

Plant Link sensor’s electronics hardware is housed in a plastic tube with two metal probes at its end. The probes plug into the soil next to a plant or directly into the lawn. The sensor measures the amount of water in the soil regularly and sends the data to a base station.

The Plant Link sensors and the base station communicate using the ZigBee specification rather than Wi-Fi as used in the Wi-Fi Plant Sensor. The ZigBee is a suitable protocol for low-power wireless communication.

The base station uploads the sensor data to a dedicated website where the online watering schedule is updated.  The web site uses an algorithm to calculate the watering needs, taking into account the type of plant and the local weather patterns.

When the plant needs water, the base station uses ZigBee to signal the smart valve to open and then to close. This is a great feature that connects information with useful action. 

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