A team of Halifax entrepreneurs has launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance a new product that uses machine learning to water your plants while you’re out of town.
Deprolabs Technology Inc. launched its Kickstarter campaign this week to promote its product Goldoon, which automatically waters flowers. The technology allows the user to set the timing and quantity to be delivered, and uses artificial intelligence so that over time it can assess the temperature and humidity to automatically give the optimum amount of water.
Deprolabs, headed by CEO Majid Nasirinejad, hopes to raise $30,000 by Dec. 17 through the crowdfunding campaign. The idea behind a crowdfunding campaign is that people interested in a product pay for it before it’s ready for the market, so the developers have the money to finish production.
“Goldoon is the world’s first learnable flowerpot watering system that is built in a modular structure, giving it the ability to be physically extended,” says a video for the Kickstarter campaign.
The idea for Goldoon came to Nasirinejad last year when he was working on his masters in computer science at Dalhousie University. During a vacation to his home in Iran, he asked a friend to water his plants but that friend was also called out of town. Nasirinejad thought a product that watered plants automatically would solve this problem for a lot of people.
“When I came back, I learned that many of the international students have the same problem,” he said. “If they want to go away, they don’t have a reliable solution for watering their plants.”
So he founded Deprolabs, teaming up with three friends — Shabnam Safari, Alireza Ahmadian and Behrouz H. Soleimani — to build products in the Internet of Things space.
Goldoon features a 1.6-litre tank that sits under the flowerpot and contains enough water to last a plant about two weeks. The tank is modular, which means you can add another half-litre, allowing about three weeks of watering.
The system allows the manual or scheduled waterings. Users can carry out the manual watering using an app on their cellphones. The system also uses the app to tell users when their water levels are getting low, or when the battery for the system needs to be recharged.
Nasirinejad said that, over time, the artificial intelligence in the system will learn about the plant and its surroundings and make adjustments accordingly. For example, if the plant is sitting in the sunlight, the system could choose to water the plant early in the morning or in the evening, when there is no direct sunlight. The longer the system is used, the more intelligent it gets.
Like all crowdfunding promotions, the Goldoon Kickstarter campaign has various levels of commitment. It offers buyers discounts ranging from 17-33 per cent. For example, a standard Goldoon is now on offer for $40 through the campaign, saving one-third off the normal retail price of $60.
If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, Deprolabs aims to deliver the products to buyers by next August. More than anything, said Nasirinejad, the team wants to use the crowdfunding campaign to validate the consumer demand for the product.
Deprolabs is now working out of Volta Labs, and is planning to produce other products in the machine learning space.