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Parrot Pot and H2O Try to Make It Impossible for Anyone to Kill Plants, Even You

Whatever the opposite of a green thumb is, Parrot's new gadgets can cure it

2 min read
Parrot Pot and H2O Try to Make It Impossible for Anyone to Kill Plants, Even You

Most of the world is covered in plants of one sort or another. This has always struck me as remarkable, since in my experience, plants are impossible to keep alive, no matter how much attention I give them. I guess it’s not the right kind of care and attention, though, because in order to keep plants from dying, I and others not blessed with green thumbs will soon be able to rely on technology to take over our horticultural efforts. Parrot’s new products, Pot and H2O, will keep plants alive entirely on their own, despite the insufficiency of our care.

Parrot has introduced a sensor called Flower Power that can tell you how to properly care for nearly any species of plant. The problem with Flower Power is that it works only if you actually do take care of the plant, paying attention to what the sensor tells you and doing what it suggests.

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Pot and H2O are an evolution of Flower Power; their automatic watering systems and water reservoirs do away with the need for your meager efforts almost entirely. They can keep plants alive for weeks while keeping you constantly updated via smartphone. Pot is, er, a pot, whose interior is studded with a bunch of sensors. It also has a water reservoir underneath. A pump and sprinkler system on the rim keep your plant moist and happy:

H2O does most of the same things as Pot, except that it’s more of a stick than a pot, a lot like the original Flower Power. You put it into your own potted plant, and then screw a standard plastic water bottle onto the top, which it uses as a reservoir:

As with most of the announcements that Parrot makes at CES, both Pot and H2O are prototypes, and there’s no specific pricing or release date, although we’re expecting to see them up for sale in 2015. Flower Power costs $59, so it’s probably reasonable to think that H2O might cost in the neighborhood of $100, and Pot will likely be substantially more expensive. Keeping your plants alive and happy, though? That’s priceless.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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