Botanicalls: Your Fern Is on Line Two

Botanicalls is the name of a New York University student project that helps plants call for help if they're parched or overwatered. Moisture sensors send a signal over a wireless network (with humans supplying the voices for messages of need or thanks).

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Consider what will happen to your phone bills when your plants start calling you. It could happen.

Our last word in business today is Botanicalls. That's the name of a New York University student project that empowers plants to call for help if they are parched or over-watered. Moisture sensors in the soil send a signal over a wireless network.

By the way, if you got a green thumb, you could hear this…

Unidentified Man: Hi. This is the fiddly fig plant. I don't know if it was you, but someone just gave me a nice watering and I want to express my thanks. I feel great.

INSKEEP: The students want the plants to make these thank you calls as well as distress calls so they don't always seem so needy.

I don't know if it is you, but somebody just gave us a nice listen. Thanks very much. It's wonderful. It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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