Will someone invent a smart lawn-watering robot that finds dry spots?

Never miss a spot

Q: Mike Jacobellis, via email, asked: “I Wish Someone Would Invent A Lawn-watering roomba that sees dead spots.”

A: Soon, you may be able to plant a few sensors, no robot necessary. Engineer Jim Canyon’s prototype measures the soil’s ability to store electric energy. Higher numbers mean wetter soil, since water stores energy well. Once you know the moisture levels of your yard’s soil, says Canyon, you can design a sprinkler system to water only the thirsty parts. Easy. He thinks his sensors could hit shelves in a few years.

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This article was originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of Popular Science, under the title, “I Wish Someone Would Invent…A Lawn-Watering Robot That Finds Dry Spots.”

Sara Chodosh
Sara Chodosh

is an associate editor at PopSci where she writes about everything from vaccine hesitancy to extreme animal sex. She got her master's degree in science journalism at NYU's Science Health and Environmental Reporting Program, and is getting a second master's in data visualization from the University of Girona. Contact the author here.