Skip to story The Yves Behar-designed Edyn Garden Sensor gives gardeners and farmers soil readings, plant recommendations, and customized tips. Edyn
In the golden age of convergence, creating a compelling piece of standalone hardware is tough. If it doesn’t interact with your phone, it’s a non-starter. If its functionality can be replicated with an app, it’s probably DOA. The price and the design need to be right, and it helps if you can stick it in places you wouldn’t think about putting your phone.
Edyn’s first product could very well cover all those bases—and due to immediate plans for an expanded ecosystem of hardware, there’s also plenty of room for growth.
It was last year when we first told you about the Edyn Garden Sensor, a solar-powered stake with five sensors built into it. It works in tandem with an iOS app to provide readouts of soil conditions, fertilizing and watering tips, and even suggestions for the plants most likely to thrive given your garden’s conditions. Edyn’s sensor began life as a Kickstarter project, but now the device is currently shipping to initial backers, and it will be available at Home Depot stores for $99 starting in May.
There are similar products on the market—both indoor- and outdoor-optimized sensors—but Edyn CEO Jason Aramburu says his device is built to the standards of serious commercial farmers. Thanks to a large database of plants and optimal growing conditions, it also does things quite a bit differently. Aramburu, who received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and spent six years in Panama and Kenya helping farmers improve their crop yields, says that the idea for Edyn was partially born out of that experience.Edyn CEO Jason Aramburu. Edyn
“I knew I wanted to use technology to help farmers, but I did not know this would be a sensor technology,” Aramburu tells WIRED. “In 2012, I was managing thousands of acres of field trials across Kenya. I needed to keep track of how different soil amendments were affecting soil moisture. I could not find any sensor technology that was affordable, so I set about creating Edyn.”
The current incarnation of Edyn tracks soil moisture, nutrition, temperature, humidity, and light, and its sidecar iOS app (there’s an Android version coming soon) includes a database of thousands of plants to recommend what to do in various cases. The app will also offer up a selection of plants that should grow well in your soil and climate conditions based on its readings.
You don’t need to actively charge it, either. Aramburu says the garden sensor charges fully with about three hours of sunlight, and indoor grow lights are also strong enough to keep its battery juiced. Once fully charged, the unit stays running for about two weeks.
The sensor itself is rated to gather readings for a 250-square-foot patch of land. The Edyn Garden Sensor requires Wi-Fi to work, which is a potential limitation for remote locations; Aramburu says the unit is rated for a 300-foot range in relation to a router, although there’s been success establishing a line-of-sight connection of up to 1,500 feet.
“We are actively experimenting with other radio frequency (RF) technologies that do not require Wi-Fi and can be deployed on a much larger scale,” says Aramburu, who also says the team is working on app features that could be useful for farmers coping with California’s current drought. “We will also continue to develop our software so that farmers and gardens can track their water usage, and benefit from any incentives for conserving water.”The Edyn Garden Sensor started out as a product called “Soil IQ,” then was redesigned and rebranded once Yves Behar became a partner. Edyn
For a thing that’s designed to be left in the dirt, the Edyn Garden Sensor also looks surprisingly good. The hardware was designed by Yves Behar and his fuseproject firm, and Behar supported the project during its Kickstarter campaign. Behar even helped rebrand the device—which was originally called Soil IQ—with a new name.
“Yves shares my same passion about conservation and sustainability, so it was a natural fit to partner together on Edyn,” says Aramburu.
The company’s next piece of hardware is almost ready for stores, too. The Edyn Water Valve, a $59 magnetic solenoid valve that’s also solar-powered and designed to work with garden hoses, drip-irrigation systems, and soaker hoses, pairs up with the Garden Sensor and its app to automate the watering process based on the sensor’s readings. It basically turns your garden into a self-driving car. If you don’t have the Garden Sensor, you’ll also be able to use the Water Valve as a standalone device to remote-control your watering from your phone. It’s available for pre-order now and due to ship in the summer.
With 500,000 presales of the Edyn hardware and a “Best of Innovation” award at this year’s CES, Aramburu says he’s “fortunate and thankful” for all the pre-release attention. It’s also added a little bit of pressure to the process.
“Thirty percent of our backers were international, and we received strong interest from farmers and gardeners… in Australia, Italy, India, China and Brazil,” Aramburu says. “We’ve definitely had to ramp up our manufacturing to match the demand, but this is certainly a good problem to have.”