Daily Giz Wiz 720: Plant A Lamp

Episode 720 of the podcast

Plant A Lamp
Subject: Review of Plant A Lamp
Released:Friday 12 December 2008
Length:about 14 minutes
Download file:dgw0720.mp3 (6.5 MB)

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Short info

It's a plant, it's a lamp, it's Plant A Lamp.

Detailed information

Today's gadget is the result of a letter from DGW marathon listener JR Rodriguez IV (see Episode 600), who remembers it from his childhood, and is surprised to find it's still available, on the internet.  As it happens, Dick has it in his all-encompassing Gadget Warehouse.  The Plant-A-Lamp is a touch switch for a lamp, but with a difference.  It has a lamp pole with a microchip which you insert into a planter pot in which you can grow the plant of your choice.  You screw on a light bulb on to the pole, put a lamp shade on, and connect the Plant-A-Lamp to the AC power supply.  Instead of touching the lamp, you touch a leaf, and the light bulb will come on.  Touch and hold a leaf and it becomes a dimmer, which cycles through the light intensity.

A 60W bulb is recommended, and the wattage should not in any case be less than 40W.  Those energy-saving bulbs which are not compatible with dimmers should not be used.  If the soil is too dry, when you touch a leaf, the light will flicker, indicating that more water is needed for your plant.  The light will also help give you a healthy plant.

Although the device has found its way into the Gadget Warehouse, it is still being sold.  Those who want to order it in the UK should go to PlantALamp.com, while those in the US should go to PlantALamp.net.

For some possible ideas as to how the device and its dimmer function might work, including capacitance, see the article on How Stuff Works, pointed out by Houdini 7 in the Chatroom.

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