by Miryam Muller in

Koubachi, is an app-based plant growing system by alumni of technical universities in Switzerland and Germany. Using a Wi-Fi sensor and an iPhone app, it lets plants talk to their owners--to share how much light they need, when they’re thirsty, and even how hot the water should be.

How it works: Choose your plant from the Koubachi’s “plant cyclopedia,” then insert the sensor, a Red Dot-award-winning gadget that resembles some kind of Jetsonian meat thermometer, into the plant’s soil. After an initial calibration period, the app draws up a care plan based on biologist-developed growing models that consider everything from the plant’s species and water cycling to the climate and growing season.

From there, it’s super easy: The sensor monitors soil moisture, ambient temperature, and light, then checks those metrics against your plant’s needs and alerts your iPhone (or web) app when it’s feeding or watering time. You don’t have to check your plants at all, just your phone (which you do every 2 minutes anyway).

Koubachi says on its website that a single sensor can be used to monitor multiple plants (once the app gathers enough information about your plant, it can basically operate on autopilot). You can also use the app by itself, for free; it includes the care plan and alerts, but doesn’t monitor growing conditions in real time, so it’s not quite as accurate.