The smart yard is not a 3-foot ruler with Bluetooth—it’s a gardening system that waters intelligently based on what your plants need for their exact conditions. And Edyn wants to make it possible.
The Edyn gardening system’s Kickstarter campaign ends Tuesday after easily blowing by its initial goal of $100,000, but it’s already a working product—I saw it in action in a pleasant rooftop garden on a sunny but wind-whipped San Francisco afternoon. Founder and soil scientist Jason Aramburu explained how Edyn’s solar-powered, Wi-Fi-equipped, sensor-packed system is designed to help anyone grow bigger, healthier plants, even if they’re a complete novice in the garden.
How does your garden grow?
Edyn’s garden sensor measures how much light, water, and fertilizer your plants are receiving, collecting this data via a long metal probe that you stick in the ground in your garden. Sensors at ground level detect the ambient temperature, light, and humidity, while sensors in the probe measure the soil’s moisture, acidity, and fertility.
The system uses Wi-Fi to send all that data up to the cloud, where it’s analyzed along with the data you entered into the Edyn app about what you’ve planted, and weather data based on your location. That lets the cloud intelligently control the other half of the system, the Edyn water valve, which has regular hose threads to connect to your water source: drip irrigation, soaker hose, or even a plain old sprinkler.
Edyn is meant to be used outdoors—both the garden sensor and the water valve are solar powered, with a lithium-polymer battery on board to store power for when the device isn’t in full sun. The two pieces are also hermetically sealed againt damage from water, dirt, fertilizer, or sun.
Edyn’s app, which will be available for iOS and Android when the system ships in the spring of 2015, is designed to give users actionable data about their gardens—if the plants are getting scorched by the afternoon heat, or they need some extra food, or if the soil isn’t draining properly. Aside from just telling you what your plants need, the app can even recommend a mix of plants that should thrive in your garden’s conditions.
Here's the dirt
I liked Parrot’s Flower Power, a much smaller gadget that you stick into the soil in your garden or even just in a potted house plant. It connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone app, so your phone needs to get close enough to the device to receive the collected data and send it to the cloud. Flower Power’s app can remind you to water or feed your plants, but the Edyn can actually water for you, and you can get the latest data on your phone no matter where you are.
If the shipping hardware is as well-built and expensive-feeling as the working prototype I saw, and the app as beautifully designed and informative, I think Edyn could really grow. To learn more, visit Edyn’s Kickstarter page.