Paulie, Digital Plant


Paulie is a prototype for an IOT-connected device that helps prevent seasonal allergies. Paulie takes an imperceptible aspect of the weather forecast (namely, the pollen count) and brings it into the physical environment for simple and straightforward identification. Thus, with a single glance at the windowsill, a user can better approximate the day's weather and prepare for the potential of seasonal allergies before they leave the house. 


The project used IFTTT and a Particle Argon development board to provide logic and IOT connectivity. The inspiration for the design came from investigating the available applets on IFTTT and identifying ways they could be used in the physical environment. I started with a quick sketch of the relevant components and layout and then built by the housing by trial and error. The flower petals are 3D printed and "pot" is acrylic to show the circuitry. The rim around the pot and the stem are aluminum, which allows them to be conductive and connect to the capacitive touch sensor. The circuitry was relatively simple and only required connection of a couple of Neopixel rings, a servo, a capacitive touch sensor, and a LiPo, which was all soldered to a protoboard. Code was written in the Particle Web IDE.


Paulie was built and coded in just a few days, so pardon his rough appearance. He connects to the Weather Underground through IFTTT and his petals open and close proportional to the current pollen count in the local area. The user can set the colour of the petals at will by touching the aluminum ring around the top of the pot. Like any flower, Paulie does not want to be picked, so touching his stem causes him to freak out, flash angry colours, and flap his petals.