Built By 15-Year-Olds, FollowPlants Posts Social Media Updates From Plants

If plants could tweet, what would they tell us? Well, the FollowPlants team at the Disrupt NY Hackathon might help us find out.

To be clear, the plants aren’t expected to share their thoughts and feelings. (That would be weird, right?) Instead, to use FollowPlants, a grower could install sensors near their plants, then data from those sensors would be automatically translated into tweets like “It’s a sunny day!” or “I need water!”

Team members Akiva Lipshitz and Ilan Katz suggested that this could help consumers who are “very particular about their plants,” including the produce they buy at the grocery store, learn more before they make their purchase. And it helps growers build a more direct relationship with buyers.

They also suggested that eventually, FollowPlants could be used to post updates from products other than plants. Those updates are enabled by Nexmo‘s API.

Their demo focused on the web interface, where you can browse plants by location and even make a purchase if you find one that you like. Katz said he built the sensors as well, using Arduinos — but they weren’t able to show those off because of Internet issues at the venue (plus, the other two team members absconded with the hardware).

By the way, the work is extra impressive since Lipshitz and Katz, who hail from Teaneck, N.J., are both 15 years old. Lipshitz has been coding for a year; he wants to start a company one day, and he convinced Katz to come out to the hackathon with him.

How did their parents react when the 15-year-olds said they wanted to spend the whole night hacking in New York? Apparently the response was … mixed. But hey, maybe this article will help!