Animated expressions help plant lovers keep potted greenery healthy
House plants can be a great way to add splashes of color to an otherwise drab interior, but they can also help to purify the air and may even fill a room with pleasant odors. But looking after them can be a guessing game. Lua is designed to help, turning plant care alerts into cute animated faces on the front of the pot.
The idea for Lua – which is currently funding on Indiegogo – is kind of similar to those keychain digital pets from years ago, where you'd have to keep feeding them, playing with them and generally taking time out of your otherwise busy life to make sure they stayed in good health. With this sensor-packed plant pot, you have to do the same for your house plant.
A 2.4-inch LCD screen on the front displays a simple cartoon face that changes according to the needs of the plant. It will show a thirsty face when soil moisture drops under a defined threshold, a sick face if you're over-watering it, a smiling vampire if it's not getting enough light, and so on. These animations result from data gathered by sensors embedded in Lua.
There's also a movement sensor so that it's eyes can follow you as you pass by and a QR code scanner for setting the system up and transferring sensor info to a smartphone app. There are other animated faces too, including a wink, a tired face and a happy face.
The "pet" plant pot is 5.9 inches in diameter and 6.3 inches tall (15 x 16 cm), weighs 17.6 oz (500 g), sits in its own saucer and is powered over USB.
Lua looks like a fun and modern way to care for your house plants. It's currently raising production funds on Indiegogo, where pledges start at €99 (about US$110). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in December. The video below has more.