Brian Munroe is a member of the Las Vegas hackerspace SYN Shop, and a home owner in the dry Las Vegas Valley. And like everyone with a home in the desert Southwest he knows the frustration of keeping his landscaping watered properly while following guidelines from the local water authority.
Munroe said the timers that typically come in homes in the desert are confusing to use and can't automatically account for the weather or for watering restrictions issued by many local authorities. He said there are other Internet-enabled irrigation timers on the market but they are far too expensive.
His solution? The Hydrogadget, an Internet-enabled irrigation timer that monitors the weather, gets watering instructions from your local water authority, and makes it easier for home owners to manager their sprinkler system.
Hydrogadget Dashboard: Hydrogadget Web Dashboard
Hydrogadget Remote Interface
Planned features of the system include the ability to turn on valves in your system from your iPhone or other mobile device. This means when a home owner is working with the emitters in his yard, there is no need to run to the garage (or wherever the timer has been installed) to turn the valves on and off.
Hydrogadget is more than a piece of hardware. Munroe said he and his team plan on making the software that runs Hydrogadget open source and released APIs. so developers can write Hydrogadget applications for other mobile devices, PCs, home automation systems and possibly even cable and satellite boxes.
The path to a Hydrogadget prototype for Munroe was not straightforward. Prior to beginning the project he had a software development background and no hardware experience to speak of, Still, Munroe said, with the help of his team, his SYN Shop friends, and the availability of Raspberry pi a low-cost microcomputer ideal for small computer-based electronics projects, he was quickly on his way to building a prototype.
Munroe said that he and his team plan to sell Hydrogadget ultimately to home owners but also as do-it-yourself electronics kit so hobbyists and others new to hardware development (and needing a easy way to irrigate their landscaping) will be able to build a Hydrogadget of their own.
So, does a do-it-yourself irrigation kit appeal to you? If you're a programmer, would you attempt to write an application if Munroe and his team released APIs?