The emerging Internet of Things (IOT) is enabling the use of smart devices, such as Edyn, in surprisingly down-to-earth places. And because this crowdfunded smart garden gadget is now available on the shelves of one of the biggest home improvement stores in the U.S., it's not just for early adopters anymore.
One of the most entertaining parts of covering technology and gadgets is reading the press releases and pitches from startups that are convinced that they've built the next best thing, and which could really change the world... as long as changing the world consisted of turning your phone into a remote control for your lights, or turning your trash can into your grocery list maker.
However, because I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to the use of technology to replace things that are already simple, it's easy for me to want to laugh when I'm expected to be applauding, so it's rather rare for me to come across a new gadget that I truly think could be a gamechanger, and even rarer still to come across one that is designed to go into the decidedly analog space that is our home garden.
I covered the Edyn smart garden sensor last year when the company was crowdfunding the production costs of the sensor itself and the companion connected watering valve, but personally, I was pretty skeptical about this device getting the traction it needed to go beyond attracting just the gadget-heads and early adopters. So I'm happy to be proven wrong about this device, because it could make a difference in two big areas, namely water use and home food production.
The Edyn sensor is a solar-powered device that measures soil moisture, pH, temperature, humidity, light levels, and soil nutrient levels, in both real-time and over the long term, helping gardeners to accurately assess what their soil needs in order to support strong healthy plant growth. Instead of watering on a timer, even an internet-connected irrigation controller, the Edyn is designed to take into account the actual watering needs of the garden, based on the data from their specific location (right in the garden bed itself) so novice gardeners don't under- or overwater their plants.
The sensor connects to another device (not yet available for the general public), the Edyn Water Valve, which then automatically switches the drip system or sprinkler system on and off, based on the data from the sensor. This could be incredibly useful for gardening in areas dealing with high pressures on local water supplies due to drought conditions, as well as arid regions that always have water issues and high evaporation rates.
Along with the aspect of providing the optimal amount and timing of watering, the Edyn sensor can help novice gardeners choose which plants will do best for their own backyard climate and soil conditions, using a database of some 5000 plants, and provide guidance on the timing of planting specific varieties. This feature could help flatten out the learning curve for beginning gardeners (although your local Master Gardener is still almost always the best resource for this), and may help improve garden yields for those who are convinced they don't have a green thumb.
Here's the spiel:
The Edyn sensor is said to cover about 250 square feet, although an additional device may be needed for multiple watering zones with different water requirements and shade/sun cover, and the WiFi connection is designed to transmit data up to 300 feet to the home router. An accompanying app allows users to monitor their garden conditions from their smartphone, which pulls the data from the Edyn cloud.
I haven't actually used one of the Edyn devices, so I can't verify if this device is everything it's hyped up to be, but it certainly appears to be one of the more useful IOT devices that I've seen lately (keeping in mind that I'm biased in a treehugging, dirt-worshiping way). As of July 1st, the Edyn sensor is available through Home Depot, either in the store or as a "ship to home" option, for $99.97 each, but I've seen no indication of when the Edyn Water Valve will be on the market yet (which does seem to be an integral part of this system).