By Jeffrey Swindoll
Plant Link, a device that sends texts when plants need watering, is slated to ship out to pre-order customers by the end of December. Plant Link is a product from Oso Technologies, a company co-founded by Eduardo Torrealba, a 2011 Baylor alum.
“Right now we are manufacturing the product,” said Torrealba, CEO of Oso Technologies. “We’re working with manufacturing materials like plastic and all the electronic components needed for the product.”
After various designs, Oso Technologies reached a final model for the product. Currently, Oso Technologies is working on making the product a device that can be mass produced for the Kickstarter pre-orders.
“It’s a pretty simple idea, but they’ve got to make the sensors on the device small enough and cheap enough and make it all work with the app,” said Dr. Michael Korpi, professor of film and digital media.
Korpi is one of 877 people who backed Plant Link when the project was on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. The project successfully exceeded the initial $75,000 goal for the project, generating $96,960.
Alongside the manufacturing process for the product, Torrealba said the company is also working on making the product available to customers at local and large franchise stores that sell gardening products.
“Regional gardening stores would probably be our first start. Then we’d be moving into big box retailers in the future,” Torrealba said.
Oso Technologies has not had any major advertising campaign for the product. Torrealba said this may not change in the near future.
“Right now we’re doing some Google ads to gauge interests, but we do not have any specific large-scale campaigns running for the product right now,” Torrealba said.
The first Plant Link model is set for release this year, but Torrealba said the company has more plans for developing and manufacturing gardening products.
Torrealba said the main target group of the project is home gardeners in the United States, but Oso Technologies is also working on technology for commercial, large-scale use such as agriculture and research.
“We’re also working on developing a product for commercial landscaping companies,” Torrealba said. “There could definitely be advanced applications in the commercial space like agriculture and a lot of different areas that we could be moving into in the future.”
Making an app that is connected with the device is something else that Oso Technologies is developing. The company announced via Kickstarter that will be making the app available through SmartThings, an iPhone and Android app that connects smartphones with physical things. SmartThings is currently used for securing household doors, sending weather notifications, remotely turning lights on and off and performing various other functions for common household applications.
Oso Technologies announced in a Kickstarter update that no additional subscription fee will be required for the Kickstarter backers. The company also announced that the product will ship internationally but has not posted the international shipping fees yet.
“We want to keep the shipping costs as low as possible, and will let you know what the precise rates will be as soon as we can,” Torrealba said.