Halifax’s Deprolabs Use AI to Water Plants

Halifax’s Deprolabs Technology has launched a crowdfunding campaign to further develop their smart container that knows when plants need a bit of water.

Goldoon is an intelligent device that acts as a base to a pre-potted plant. It uses AI to learn user watering behaviour and understand external factors that may affect how much water the plant needs. Over time the Goldoon can take control of watering the plant through an attached spout.

“It is tracking how much water the user is adding in manual mode, at what time, at what temperature and at what humidity,” Deprolabs CEO Majid Nasirinejad said. “If you forgot to add the water, you’ll receive a notification that the soil is dry. If you aren’t available, the device will add water for you.”

Artificial intelligence is being used to power everything from self-driving cars to personal assistants, but Goldoon may just be the only device that’s harnessed AI to keep plants alive.

“This is the first learning auto-watering system built within a modular structure,” said Nasirinejad.

Nasirinejad is a Dalhousie Computer Science graduate who first got the idea for Goldoon during a month-long trip home to Iran. The friend he had asked to take care of his five apartment plants had to unexpectedly leave town for a conference. That gave Nasirinejad with no option but to let that friend pass along his house key to someone he didn’t know.

“I discovered that many people have this problem, and thought there must be a more reliable option,” he said.

Through an app, users set Goldoon to manual or scheduled mode: the former has users adding water themselves, whereas in the second mode the device is programmed to add water automatically. In both modes, the device will track a user’s behaviour, cue a user when the plant is in need of water, send notifications if the tank needs to be refilled and let users know if the battery is low.

A Goldoon can hold 1.6 litres—enough water for most plants to stay well hydrated for two weeks—and retails for $60 (now $40 through an early bird Kickstarter promo). The modular design means another layer can be added to the smart device to increase the tank to 2.1 litres.

The Deprolabs Technology team hopes to raise $30,000 through Kickstarter by December 17 to validate market interest in Goldoon before the smart device enters mass production. The mobile application needed to control Goldoon is currently only available for Android devices, although Nasirinejad said an iOS app is in the works too.

Deprolabs is apart of Volta Labs residency program where the team receives mentorship and support. Goldoon is the company’s first intelligent home device it has designed, developed and produced.