Japanese Cell Phone Owners Get Gardening Tips Via Mobile Emails

If you needed one more piece of evidence that Japan is crazy about everything mobile, here it is: the country’s leading mobile carrier today announced [JP] a system that provides user-specific instructions to home gardeners via cell phones and special “garden sensors”. NEC is a partner in the pilot project, which actually began last Saturday in 30 selected households in Japan.

The way it works is that the sensor (pictured) first gets stuck into soil to measure the temperature, the moisture of the soil and the level of sunlight. The data collected is sent wirelessly to a relay device users have to install at home, from where it is sent to a Docomo database. Gardening experts employed by the company analyze the data and give specific feedback to users, for example at which times exactly to water their garden, through cell phone emails.

Docomo says the trial will last through February next year. The sensors are expected to cost between $24 and $36, with Docomo charging a yet to be determined monthly subscription fee for the service.