Sprout: Talk With Your Plants

30.09.171 min read

Sprout is a conversational interface that we developed to enable people to have a “dialogue” with their plants. Using biology, sensors and machine learning, Sprout makes it easier for us to grow plants hydroponically—that is, without soil, like the microgreens in our basement farm.

Sprout works thanks to a clever combination of technology and design. Its sensors monitor the health of the plants and relay the information to Google’s voice-assistant platform, Home. You can ask it questions about the plants—and it “talks” back via Home’s small speaker.

In other words, a layer of natural language processing allows people to participate in the growing experience, simply by using their voice. Would-be hydroponic farmers need only to ask Sprout what their plants need in order to thrive. Having monitored parameters such as pH level, nutrient level, light, humidity and temperature, it provides answers based on the data.

An innovative bridge between technology and design, Sprout is intended to be an educational tool for restaurants and individuals who want to get into hydroponic farming. Plenty of people believe in the power of talking to their plants—but only Sprout actually allows them to do so.