Dead-eye Droplet: The assassin of garden sprinklers
There's no two ways about it: your common or garden sprinkler (so garden, in all probability) is a blithering half-wit. Rain or no, if you don't turn it off, it'll water your lawn whether it needs it or not, and much more besides. The Droplet wants to change all that. A sort of "smart" water cannon, it knows which parts of your garden to water, and when.
Droplet works by selectively watering the plants in your garden by jetting water directly at them rather than spraying hither and yon.
It can draw real-time info from 10,000 US weather stations, but factors in seasonal weather data, recent conditions and current forecasts to decide whether the plants need watering, and if so, by how much. It even looks at soil data and transpiration rates for different plants. It tracks its own water consumption, too.
Clearly some training is required, but Droplet's makers say the device takes five minutes to set up up using a laptop, tablet or smartphone. It's just a case of telling it what your plants are, and where.
Droplet will be released March 24, but is available to preorder from Amazon for US$299.99. Its makers claim that it can reduce sprinkler water consumption by up to 90 percent, and saves sprinkler users an average of $263 a year. If that proves accurate, a sprinkler with brains could be a worthwhile investment.
Droplet CEO Steve Fernholz tells Gizmag that Droplets will work outside of the US, and will ship internationally in the near future.
You can get an idea of Droplet's accuracy in the video on the Droplet website, as it fills four drinking glasses, apparently without spilling a drop.
Update, March 20, 2014: Droplet confirmed that the product will work outside the US. This point has been clarified in the article.