How often do you stand in front of the dried-up remains of your plants and wonder what went wrong? Too much water? Too little? Boozy nights have them frazzled?
Just like us humans, plants are living and sentient beings. It can be hard to understand exactly what they need and to decrypt all those silent messages they send us. The key to helping our plants survive and thrive without speaking the same language? It’s all about finding smarter, deeper ways to connect. This is why we developed the FYTA Beam.
The FYTA Beam is a small sensor that connects your plants with your smartphone so you know when they need more water, fertilizer, or a different ambience.
As seen in
How does the FYTA Beam work?
The FYTA Beam measures critical factors for a plant’s wellbeing, including
- soil moisture
- nutrition levels
- light intensity and
Just insert it into the soil next to your plant and install the FYTA app – intelligent insights will be sent your way instantly via Bluetooth.
The FYTA Beam will seamlessly monitor the plant’s living conditions to ensure that it stays within the correct limits for the type of plant that you have. And when it’s time for action, you’ll get a simple notification on you App. No more guess work, lots more “it works!”.
If you have several plants, you can connect several FYTA Beams via Bluetooth with each other to create a network of up to 100m transmission range.
The FYTA Beam: better than smart
We couldn’t find a smart sensor that worked the way we wanted it to. Many existing sensors only measure one or two important parameters, have little design functionality, or are so badly designed that they look like they crash-landed from Planet Fugly.
We wanted to do a better job. This is what makes our FYTA Beam different from other plant sensors:
- Discrete: The FYTA Beam is small and has a reflective glass casing. It almost disappears in your planter.
- Eco-friendly: It’s powered by a built-in solar cell that extends the life of the CR battery every day. All components are detachable so they can be recycled separately.
- Accurate: It measures voltage across the entire length of its stainless-steel probes. This way it collects more data and calculates highly reliable values.
- Adjustable: Have large plants? No problem. The probes are detachable and will be available in different lengths.
- Customizable: Fancy a different feel? There will be different casing colors and designs available soon.
- Good value: Did you know that many of our houseplants could easily outlast us if they received proper care? The FYTA Beam probably costs as little as your phone case - and is packed with really smart technology that will make your plants last longer.
In short, the FYTA Beam is customizable and designed from recyclable materials. It’s intelligent. It’s built to last.
The FYTA App: more than a messenger
The FYTA App does more than just check on your plants and nudge you in the right direction – it digs up a whole host of smart insights to help your relationship flourish in new ways:
- Plant identification: Do you know what plants you actually have? No? Well, the app is here to help you identify them!
- The FYTA plant library: Our plant library includes plant care instructions for all common houseplants. It keeps all plant information handy and in one place. Simple.
- Virtual Garden: Create personal profiles for your plants and organize them in a virtual garden. Perfect if you have many to look after!
- Customized notifications: Let your plants nudge you whenever they need something or simply choose how often you’d like to hear from your plants.
- Tutorials: Enjoy fun tutorials that show you how to take better care of your plants. You’ll even learn how to make plant babies. Yes, you read that right.
All of these features come together to help you do one spectacular thing: better understand your plants and eventually connect with them device-free.
The FYTA Base: check on your plants while you’re away
Leaving your beloved plants behind? Don’t fret. With the FYTA Base, it’s easy to check in on them while you’re away and share care instructions with a friend or neighbor, for instance via email.
The FYTA Base is a WiFi hub that
- connects all of your FYTA Beams to your home WiFi network, extending their range way further.
- helps you manage multiple sensors with greater ease and security.
- constantly monitors all FYTA Beams and uploads data to a secure cloud, allowing you to access critical insights whenever, wherever.
- provides better notification and sharing options through the FYTA App.
We’ve been working for over 12 months on creating the FYTA eco-system: The FYTA Beam, The FYTA Base, the App and the cloud back-end.
Developing the FYTA Beam was fun but challenging. A few things were straight-forward such as building an NTC-Thermistor into the microcontroller to measure temperature. In order to measure light intensity, we chose to use the current generated by a solar cell instead a photoiode ( which is commonly used). This approach helps to to prolong battery life. The most challenging part was to develop a capacitive soil moisture sensor which also measures the salinity of the soil. Finally, we had to figure out how to have the sensors interact in a Bluetooth Mesh Network.
Over time we built several generations of sensors to test different aspects of the electronics and the Bluetooth communication. The following picture shows several of our prototypes:
Eventually, over the course of months and three generations of prototypes, the FYTA Beam became what it is today. In this video, our engineer Jacob is demonstrating the basic functionality of the sensor within a Mesh network with the help of a third party Bluetooth application.
Another important part of the process was the parameter calibration which we did with the help of a solar simulator (for light intensity). To calibrate the soil parameter, we used an array of soil samples with fixed values for moisture and salinity to derive the interdependency of both parameters. Finally, we compared our results with measurements taken with highly sensitive, professional measurement devices.
Current Status and Next Steps
Hardware development and programming is now complete. We have visited several manufactures in China and entered into an early stage cooperation with an experienced high-quality producer.
We have a demo version of the App and are now working on connecting the devices to the FYTA App and FYTA server (about 50% done). Here is a sneak peek of our App:
We are aiming at completing this stage by July to have sufficient time for further testing and calibrations before we order the first batch of products.
We have sufficient funds to complete the development process of the FYTA Beam. With your help we will
· finance the tools required for mass production with our manufacturing partner
· run a test production of the alpha units
· improve the FYTA Beam eco-system with the help of your feedback.
· connect people to plants all over the world!
We’d love to offer casings and probes to customize or personalize the Beam. However, we will only be able to produce probes in different lengths or casings in different designs if we collect sufficient funds to pre-finance the production of a larger lot. Those are our stretch goals:
Future plans include the development of different App versions (e.g. for children and offices) as well as the integration with Smart Home Systems.
Our reward tiers include the following products:
The FYTA Beam System
The FYTA Beam System consists of the FYTA Beam, the FYTA App and the optional FYTA Base. Our rewards include single Beams, as well as three different bundles (Plant Lover, Plant Addict, and Plant Nerd) to meet different needs.
Soil pH Test Kit
Plants need to sit in the right potting mix to to grow and thrive. If your plants sits in wrong or poor quality soil, even the most accurate measurements and best care schedule won't prevent your plant from stunting. This pH test kit will help you to determine whether your plant needs different soil. The FYTA App will lead you through the process and advise you.
The STATEMENT TOTE
Profess your plant love to the world and make new friends with this awesome screen-printed statement tote bag (100% cotton). Trust us, plant people are the best!
Berlin-based, but with an otherworldly vision. We are FYTA, and we develop inventive, intuitive and cool products for a new generation of indoor gardeners.
FYTA was founded in 2018 by Claudia Nassif and Sylvie Basler. We are two passionate plant lovers who failed to find the products and insights we needed to create our own urban jungles at home. So we decided to develop them ourselves, for us and others who may struggle to keep these wondrous green creatures alive and happy.
Before embarking on this journey, Claudia and Sylvie held executive positions in large international companies. Together, they combine over forty years of experience in finance, management, product development, branding and design. Their work today is supported by an international team of plant scientists, developers, designers and creatives.
Risks and challenges
The FYTA Beam will be built by our experienced manufacturing partner. With production facilities in Shenzhen, China, they understand every step from design to direct fullfilment and is the partner of several IoT companies.
Throughout the development process, we have been in very close contact with our engineers and programmers. All along, we have been supported by Dr. Oliver Lang of SONNENREPUBLIK - a true Design-For-Manufacture veteran - who has been working with us for over a year.
Our next step is to build the tools by mid-2019, get the final assembly line going, install testing equipment and do two more builds for stress testing before beginning production. We are very confident that the hardware will satisfy our high-quality standards.
What most certainly will require several rounds of adjustment is the user experience with the FYTA App. We will have user groups with different needs who are probably best served with different App versions – offices for instance, or kids. However, we would need more resources and time to contextualize and meet all of these needs.
We are confident that we can manage the above mentioned risks and that we can deliver. We have the right talent and resources in place to meet our deadlines and get the FYTA Beam to you in time. With the help of your feedback, we will adjust and iterate the FYTA App to make sure that it will serve your needs.
Of course, we will be keeping our supporters in the loop and inform you of the progress. Join us on our journey!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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