The year is 2018 and now even our plant pots have Alexa, IFTTT and a smartphone app
It is a running joke in smart home circles than anything can be made 'smart'. From fridges and toothbrushes, to salt dispensers and even egg trays. This 'smartification' of some products leaves us bewildered, while adding Bluetooth and Alexa support to others makes them genuinely more useful.
The latest product to convince us it is one of the latter is the Natede by Clairy, a connected plant pot which acts as an air quality monitor and an air purifier — and yes, there is a smartphone app and Alexa support, too.
The Natede is the second plant pot air purifier to come from Clairy, and has currently raised just over $900,000 through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, plus an additional $890,000 from Kickstarter. In July 2016, Clairy raised just under $400,000 for its first air-purifying planter on Indiegogo, plus a further $267,000 from Kickstarter.
As always — and despite the high figures in this case — readers should exercise caution when investing in anything through crowdfunding, as projects can and do fail, leaving you empty-handed, or waiting years for the products (or a refund) to arrive. Investing in such a product is not the same as buying it from the store, and shipment delays do occur.
The Natede promises it will filter toxins from the air while doubling as a planterClairy
We all know that plants help to clear the air around us, and that some especially high-performers are recommended for offices and other working environments, on account of their purifying abilities.
These plants slowly filter toxins out of the air around them — a process called phytoremediation — but where Clairy claims it is different, is with how the Natede uses a fan installed beneath the plant to boost the purification process. By increasing the passage of air through the plant, and particularly around its roots, it purifies the surrounding air more quickly while keeping its appearance and growing as normal.
In addition to the supercharged plant, the Natede is also claimed to use a photocatalytic filter to further reduce air pollutants, viruses and bacteria. Clairy claims the system also helps to alleviate odors from pets, cigarettes, cooking and mildew. The filter only requires occasional cleaning with water, and does not need replacing like those of most regular air purifiers.
You can put almost any plant in this pot, but common air-purifiers include the snake plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata), peace lily, aloe vera, dracaena, weeping fig, bamboo palms and the spider plant.
New for the Natede (compared to its predecessor) is smart home integration via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT (If This, Then That). This means you can issue voice commands to your assistant, asking it to speed up or slow down the Natede's fan, or ask it about your room's air quality, like how you would use an Awair monitor.
Alternatively, there is an LED light on the device to give a quick indication of the room's air quality, like how the Foobot monitor works. IFTTT means you can hook up the Natede to other smart home devices — for example, you could have a regular air purifier switch on to help out the Natede when particularly poor quality is detected, like when you are cooking.
The connected plant pot includes a one-liter reservoir which automatically waters your plant, keeping it healthy while you are away. A companion smartphone app shows detailed information about the local air quality, and how it has ebbed and flowed over time - just like the apps of other air quality monitors.
If Clairy can stick to its promises with the Natede, delivering a working product to backers from January 2019, then we think the 'connected plant pot' will become a worthwhile addition to the smart home. Unlike that egg tray we mentioned earlier.