I think we’re getting into SMS tea kettle territory with this one.
A group of postgraduate students from New York University has developed a service [presumably for people who are too stupid to figure things like this out on their own] that will enable plants that are either too wet or too dry to phone for help.
The system, known as Botanicalls [hahaha get it?], works via moisture sensors placed in the soil that will trigger a phone call whenever a serious gardening emergency is detected.
And to make those phone calls just a little more interesting, the Botanicalls people have gone to the trouble of choosing voices for different kinds of plants in an attempt to make the alerts friendlier and give them some personality. For instance, if you forget to water your Scots Moss, you will hear a fake sounding Scottish accent on the other end of the line. Why does it sound fake? That would be because the Scots Moss isn’t actually a Scottish plant, even though its name would suggest otherwise. this, apparently, passes for clever at places such as New York University, where they’ve forgotten that those fake Scottish accents are what most folks think Scottish people actually sound like.
Another heartwarming feature of the service allows the plants to phone you again once you’ve taken care of them just to say thank you.
“We wanted to make sure that you weren’t just getting phone calls that were really needy,” said Rebecca Bray, a member of the development team. “So we have them calling you back when you’ve watered them to say thank you for watering me.”
Sadly, no mentions of why sane human beings would need their plants to call them to say thank you when they would have to be standing right next to them when all this watering stuff was happening or why those people would need a phone call in the first place were ever made, but we did get this fantastic quote, which managed to bring joy and sadness to my heart simultaneously.
“We hope that the system will help people learn how to take better care of their plants over time, and maybe not even need the phone calls after a while.”
I can’t help but wonder if the same people who might benefit from Botanicalls would perhaps be better served by a similar system that would remind them to look after their children. Just something to consider.