A lot of video games these days end up being a lot like second jobs. Some, like World of Warcraft, require grinding — a term for completing dull, repetitive tasks in order to gain experience, currency, or items. Others, such as the infamous Facebook game Farmville, are essentially job simulators. But, unlike real work, those games are addicting because you earn frequent and regular rewards that trigger a dopamine release in your brain. One of the earliest examples of that game genre was the Tamagotchi, and now you can replicate that experience with your real plants using the Lua smart planter.
Lua is being crowdfunded through Indiegogo, and the campaign has already tripled its goal with five days still left to go. This smart planter essentially uses gamification to motivate you to take care of your plant. Like a Tamagotchi, the Lua smart planter displays emotions that correspond to its health, and the only way to make the planter happy is to ensure that it is properly taken care of. This gamification gives you an instant reward in the form of a happy response when you take care of the plant, which is much more of a motivation than the slow growth that is the normal reward for gardening.
It works by monitoring the plant’s conditions using a variety of sensors, which can detect moisture, temperature, and light exposure. Using a smartphone app, you tell the Lua planter what kind of plant you’re trying to raise. Doing so lets the planter know that plant’s ideal conditions. The planter can then display a number of emotions, such as panting when water is needed, on an LCD screen to let you know what you need to do to keep the plant healthy. It can even use a built-in motion sensor to display additional animations based on your movement.
If you want a Lua smart planter, the Indiegogo campaign will be running for another five days. A single planter will cost you $110, and there are different color options to suit your decor. Rewards are expected to be shipped in December.