I have a notoriously poor green thumb. I have killed every plant I have ever owned, including hollowing out a cactus or two. After coming across The Plant Whisperer at Instructables.com I have hope that one day I will properly be able to care for a house plant. The Plant Whisperer measures the moisture of the plant’s soil every 2 hours and will shout at you when it needs water. You can program The Plant Whisperer to shout out whatever you want when it is in need of water, some suggestions are, “I’m Thirsty!” or “Feed me!”
In addition to soil moisture readings, it can also detect the ambient light and shout at you to fix the amount of light it is receiving. It is based around a Parallax Propeller and the main components are a two-channel ADC, a two-hour timer IC, a load switch and an audio amplifier and will cost about $30 to build. Plus, check out that groovy/swoopy PCB!
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.