The unpredictable summer weather can leave even the greenest-fingered of gardeners staring in disbelief at the havoc wrought on months of hard horticultural graft.
But fear not, flower-ophiles: A Viennese startup has come up with a solution. viRaTechnologies’ viRaCube offers you the chance to extend the concept of the smart home beyond your four walls and into the garden.
Drowned or parched flowers
Standard sprinkler systems are programmed to water the garden at fixed times, meaning they go on and off regardless of changes in the weather. This means that they can go on when it’s hosing it from the heavens or lie idle as the midday sun scorches your lawn.
The result can be that your plants are either fried by the heat or waterboarded to within an inch of their lives. Furthermore, sprinklers only water specific areas, with some areas of your garden being outwith their radius.
This is where viRaCube’s algorithms come into play. Its hi-tech sensors measure groundwater levels and can then pinpoint exactly where water is required—and where it isn’t.
How it works
viRaCube comprises four components: an app, a cube (the “brain”), a valve and a sensor. You can use the app to check the condition of your garden and set the sprinkler system accordingly—even when you’re lying on a beach on the other side of the world.
Meanwhile, the cube collects data via the sensor, which is used to decide whether your plants and lawn require watering. Garden, viRaCube cloud and smartphone are connected via WiFi or LAN. All data and settings are saved locally, meaning everything can function without active Internet connection.
The valves ensure optimal water flow and can either be buried in the soil or mounted at the outside tap. The sensor measures soil moisture, temperature, humidity and light. A rain sensor will soon be added so that the data provided to the system will be even more accurate.
The valve and sensor both operate sustainably, running on solar energy to avoid unnecessary battery waste.
Support the campaign on Kickstarter!
In September, viRaCube will be presented to an international audience for the first time. Pre-orders of the smart garden system will also be taken as part of a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is active until October 2, so if you like what you’ve heard, have a look for yourself!