Student invents the 'intelligent' plant pot that lights up when it needs watering

By the time an ailing house plant sends out a distress signal, it is usually too late. But the days of wilting stems and yellowing leaves could soon be over thanks to an ‘intelligent’ pot which tells you when the plant needs some help. The ‘Tulipe’ pot glows bright red at the base when its sensors detect that temperature, light or moisture are not at optimum levels. Student Natalie King with the 'Tulipe' plant pot that glows red whenever the plant is in danger of becoming too hot, too cold, too light, too dark or too dry.


The pot is not yet commercially available, but designer Natalie King, 22, is hoping it will catch the imagination of an investor. Her invention was inspired by her partially-sighted but green-fingered grandfather. Miss King dedicated her university project to solving the problem of helping him keep his plants healthy. She hopes that it will be equally useful for beginners who might need a little help to keep their plants alive. The working prototype, which took eight months to complete, contains moisture and temperature sensors in the base and a light sensor on the outside.
These can detect the conditions required for any indoor plant grown from seed. Miss King, from Callington, Cornwall, said yesterday: ‘My grandfather had always been a keen gardener but he suffers from age-related macular degeneration, which reduces his central vision. ‘I found that about 50 per cent of people over the age of 75 will suffer from it, and I wanted to do something to help. ‘The pot is designed to give feedback, which I hope will make gardening easier and encourage people to have a go.’ She added: ‘My grandfather thinks it’s a great idea – he’s very proud.’

Miss King is now working as a designer for Chanel after her plant pot helped her graduate from her industrial design course at Brunel University, west London, with a first-class honours degree



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