Locative Lab

researching locative media

DIY Techology Lets Your Plants Twitter You When They Are Thirsty


Well, gang, this one’s so far over the wall that it sounds absolutely daft. Bu I promise you, it can be done.

That would be hooking your plant up so that it can Twitter you when it is feeling kind of dehydrated. Even when you are on the go!

The process involves a plant, a handheld mobile device, as well as technology from Botanicalls, iwhich a system that was developed to allow plants to place phone calls for human help. When a plant on the Botanicalls network needs water, it can call a person and ask for exactly what it needs. When people phone the plants, the plants orient callers to their habits and characteristics.

Step-by-step procedure is too detailed for us to list here, but as described on the Botanicals page, you will need a moisture probe, wiring and a lot of time and patience.

Before you even begin, you will also need:

(1) 2N2222A or 2N3904 transistor
(1) 100 ohm resistor

(1) 10K Ohm resistor

(1) LED

(2) galvanized nails, preferably hot dipped

(1) small breadboard

(1) Adafruit Xport shield

(1) XPort or Xport Direct

(1) Arduino USB board

(1) 9V DC power adapter

hook up wire in assorted colors


USB A to B cable

USB A to miniB cable

USB Serial FTDI adapter (optional)

Ethernet cable


soldering iron

helping hands

computer with ZTerm or HyperTerminal, Arduino

Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention, a Twitter account.

Hey, spring is coming soon, and your plants are feeling the urge to grow. When they need a little water to help them along, why not let them let you know when they could use a few gulps?


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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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