The gift to celebrate 25 years of Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology is an indigenous plant, local to the Melbourne region.
The plants were drawn from a selection of native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs. Many of the species selected were common before European settlement and the urbanisation of the Melbourne region.
If you look after the plant it will help repopulate these indigenous species and attract native birds and insects.
Included with each plant is a customised Bluetooth LE sensor, known as a ‘Bean’. The sensor measures temperature and soil moisture every 5 minutes and will flash different colours if the plant needs attention.
The sensor uses coin-sized battery, which should last for about 1 month under normal conditions. If you would like to replace the battery you’ll need to unscrew the two bolts that hold the layered case together and remove the old battery (it can be pushed out with your fingers or using a matchstick). Replacement battery is a CR 2032 (3 Volts).
If you are technically minded, the sensor is easily modifiable and hackable. You can add extra functionality or use it for other purposes once your plant has grown.
To find out more about the hardware go to Punchthrough where you can download software for mobile or desktop devices (Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android). You’ll need a computer, phone or tablet with Bluetooth 4 or Bluetooth LE in order to connect to the Bean.
All the code is Open Source and available on Github.
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