IoT Design: Marrying Smart Tech With Green Thumbs

  • Capabilities Used
  • Industrial Design
  • UX Design

What if houseplants could let people know what they need and could even play with you just like the family pet—becoming a friend and a trusted, loving companion. Altitude created a concept called MOMO, a smart product that leverages the connection between plants and humans.

By using IoT design MOMO connects with your smart phone or tablet via an app and will send you messages when her emotions change.

This App Knows How Your Plant Feels Today

Science has shown that we have a two-way connection with plants. They make people happier, and in turn, plants grow faster—up to one inch more over four weeks—when people interact with them. However, people don’t treat plants like, say, Fido or Boots because plants can’t express their emotions. No puppy dog eyes when it’s thirsty or a hearty meow when it wants attention. The result: People lose their attention for their houseplants, and you know what happens next—you eventually throw out a dry crumply stick figure in a pot with not a leaf left on it.

By using IoT design MOMO connects with your smart phone or tablet via an app and will send you messages when her emotions change. For example, using existing temperature, light, motion, and moisture sensing technologies, MOMO tells you when she’s thirsty, needs more light, plant food, is too big for her pot, has bugs, or even needs a trim. At the same time, her eyes will glow corresponding colors to indicate her state—i.e. red for thirsty, yellow for sunlight. The user knows what she feels and what she needs, either by interacting directly with her when home or by connecting via technology when out.


Friend Your Plant on Facebook 

MOMO can also become a Facebook friend—with her own personality. When the user sets up the MOMO app, the system will automatically make a profile, if the user chooses to activate it. MOMO will post based on her emotions such as, “Brian hasn’t fed me today, and I don’t think he cares about me.” Or “Sarah is the best plant mommy ever. She waters me everyday!”

All these bells and whistles are designed to encourage communication and bonding with your plant, creating a deep sympathy so she feels like a real pet. Currently, there are several similar products on the market that use IoT, such as the USB Flower Pot and iPot Digital Smart Plant Pot, which let people know what their plants need. But they don’t create sympathy or facilitate an emotional connection or enhanced user experience.

MOMO’s friendly soft rounded pot, feet, and indicator design details are meant to cue a pet. And not just for aesthetic purposes—her shape is practical, as well. The top body becomes a handle so she can be easily moved or transported for better sunlight or even MOMO meet-ups.


MOMO won’t replace man’s best friend anytime soon, but that’s not really the point. What she will do is use IoT to create communication with plants in a way that leverages that emotional connection we have with the other living beings in our lives—showing how humans and plants can connect through smart devices and the Internet. Blue Altitude Logo