LAS VEGAS —When plants cry out for water or sunlight, nobody can hear them scream. A new "Flower Power" sensor can prevent such silent suffering by alerting humans to the needs of their household plants.
The two-pronged sensor can report on sunlight, temperature, water and fertilizer conditions by using low-power Bluetooth signals to send alerts. Dangerous conditions for plants may trigger extra warnings through the Flower Power app on a person's iPhone or iPad.
"Plants everywhere are screaming for this," said Leah Haran, senior vice president of the Airfoil Public Relations firm. "It's a green thumb that we all wish we had."
Flower Power was developed by Parrot, a wireless tech company known more for showing off its Parrot drone copter at past Consumer Electronics Show (CES) events. This time around, the immobile plants stole the show for Parrot at CES 2013 on Jan. 6.
The sensor and app combination also acts as a digital guide for clueless plant owners. People can search for plant-care instructions from a database of 6,000 plants, or even search by color and similar picture characteristics if they don't know the name of the plant.
A single AAA battery allows the Flower Power sensor to send out Bluetooth signal updates every 15 minutes and still lasts for about six months.
Parrot has yet to figure out the selling price for its new product. But the company is betting that Flower Power can pave the way as the first of many low-power Bluetooth sensors that could transform ordinary household gadgets into smart devices.
"Because it's cheaper, everything can be connected to the Internet," said Arthur Petry, a business development representative at Parrot.
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