Herb(ert): A Desk Plant with Automated Irrigation

I have a history of over/under watering plants. Herb(ert) combines sensor data with edge IoT logic to automate watering and stay healthy!

In our connected world there is no excuse for letting houseplants die. I have been guilty of this several times in the past but that all changed when I met my new desk plant Herb(ert). This plant inspired me to use the technology I have available to ensure its health.

My goal for this project was simple. I wanted to keep my plant alive and healthy with the smallest amount of physical interaction possible. I didn’t want to feel the soil every few days and guess if it felt moist enough. I didn’t want to measure an arbitrary amount of water and guess if it was enough to give to the plant. I wanted Herb(ert) to handle all of this logic himself and just leave me responsible for filling up a water tank when it gets low.

Full disclosure I work for niolabs, a software company that allows you to design this kind of edge logic using our platform and tools. This project was great for the nio Platform as it represented a small scale version of the automated irrigation we do in our autonomous vineyard.

With the hardware that I am using, I will be able to read soil moisture values as well as visualize the environment that my plant is in with temperature and humidity values. Data stream processing will be applied on the Raspberry Pi to actuate the water pump. Additionally, I will be able to monitor the status of all of this using a custom created dashboard. This front end will subscribe to the data directly from the Pi and display real-time streams so I know my plant is healthy when I go home at night.”