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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 11:43 GMT
Smart pot waters plants
The smart plant pot
What goes on beneath the pot
The days of withered and dying houseplants could be numbered as British researchers come up with a self-watering plant pot.

The smart pot, which monitors moisture and temperature levels, has won a Best Invention Award from the BBC programme Tomorrow's World.

The computer-controlled smart plant pot is wired up to the telephone line and alerts its owner them via a bleep, alarm or even a song if readings are too low.

Worried plant owners can check on their precious green friends from anywhere in the world and can programme watering via their telephone keypad.

Green-fingered

The smart plant pot
The smart plant is green and healthy
The smart plant can water itself from its own reservoir.

The invention was the brainchild of Brunel University graduate Rebekka Peterson.

She found that the British were not particularly green-fingered.

"My research showed that most people don't have a clue about keeping indoor plants," she said.

"The smart plant pot makes it obvious and easy. And it explains exactly why I invented it," she added.

Pet project

Ms Peterson is now hopeful that the invention will be taken up commercially.

She is currently working on extending the use of the smart plant technology to monitoring household pets.

David Wright, Head of the Department of Design at Brunel University, believes the best inventions are always the ones with clear practical applications.

"The value of innovation is greatly enhanced by market need," he said.

"Rebekka's smart plant pot epitomises the Brunel approach to design, a genuinely original and highly sophisticated solution to a timeworn problem," he said.

See also:

02 Dec 02 | Technology
25 Oct 02 | UK
20 Sep 02 | Technology
19 Sep 02 | England
15 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
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