Social networking has arrived at the plantbox. An outfit called Adafruit Industries is peddling a gadget that's part Twitter, part Tamagotchi, and part Martha Stewart, with a good dose of Little Shop of Horrors thrown in along the way.
"Botanicalls Twitter" is a $160 kit that monitors house plants and relays their condition to a Twitter account, texting your mobile phone if necessary. The system, which has its roots as a research project at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program, uses embedded sensors that supposedly detect whether a plant is in need of water, food, or anything else, triggering alerts through a built-in Ethernet connection.
It's kind of like a networked version of the "EnergyTree" PC concept we cited a year ago, except the computer monitors the plant rather the other way around. But if your African violet asks for a burger and signs its IMs "Audrey," get rid of it immediately--if you can.