It would be hard to be surprised at anything that the IoT is throwing up nowadays. The future is full of connected machines and they are going to be everywhere. Even your hydroponic garden.
Yes, the Gro.io is an automated hydration system for your plants that is smart, nearly automated and has the ability to send you relevant updates about the health of your plants straight to your phone. The brains powering the entire system reside in a Linux run computing tower also called as the Gro.hub.
The hydroponic system has close to 10 different sensors that measure important parameters like ph, temperature, flow and more to track when the plants need water. According to the company, this hydroponic system is a blend of the best features different systems offer. They say that they have taken aspects of Ebb and Flow, Deep Water, Recirculating and Drip systems to come up with something unique.
The entire system comprises a tower hub, 20-gallon buckets in which the individual plants are housed and LED bulbs. The modular nature of the system means that you can buy and add any component over a period of time, thus limiting the investment required upfront.
This system does not come cheap though and buyers should be ready to shell out a thousand dollars just for the hub. The rest of the components will set you back another $775 to $1775 dollars depending on the number of lights, their power, the number of buckets and their size.
The idea behind installing this system is to essentially be able to plant your seeds and then forget about them. The system will calculate how much water, light, and temperature your plant needs for optimum growth and then adjust the levels accordingly.
Gro is also trying to set up a community of people that can share information about their growing programs, the kind of seeds they use, the yields they were able to get and make the experience more social. Growers will have the ability to share information about their plant’s growth with other people.
The company is positioning this towards serious hydroponic growers but also those that may be new to the hobby and know absolutely nothing about it. Their pitch is that all the information you need is already integrated into the system.
The cool thing about the system is that it does not force the users to use all of its parts. Third party lights and buckets are supported although a few adjustments may need to be made before the system starts to function optimally.
Technically, the company requires users to be on the same network as the gro.hub to be able to control the system but a nifty VPN setup will allow them to control their setup from anywhere in the world.
Their application, currently iOS only, receives updates from the system thanks to an integrated WiFi receiver into the tower. There are no recurring costs or subscriptions currently required to use the system, although the pH sensor does need to be replaced after every 12 months or so.