Sure, some people talk to their plants (King Charles III among them), but the leafy things just don’t respond in the same way pets do. Until now. An innovation we spotted at CES 2024 called PlantPetz gives your up-till-now quiet houseplants personalities all their own. Think Big Mouth Billy Bass for houseplants, or those dancing, sunglasses-wearing Rock ‘n Flowers from the 1980s.
“This thing made me happy,” CNET’s Bridget Carey, who saw the product at CES on Wednesday, said. “I think it’s going to be a great product.”
Read more: We’re Vibing This Captivating CES 2024 Tech
PlantPetz is designed to be easy to use. Put any plant and soil in the PlantPetz planter, and insert the provided special sensors in the dirt touching the roots. One long sensor stick touching the plant gives it capacitive touch — so when you touch the plant, it knows and moves and reacts.
Your plant will rotate, turn and shift as its pot moves in randomized ways. It also moves around to sound, so it can play and dance to music, or just react to music and sound in the home. And while it’s moving, it makes distinctive little cartoon sounds, almost like Star Trek Tribbles, cooing and chirping and chittering. You don’t need to keep the plant near an outlet, either, as it’s battery-powered.
Other sensors detect water, and if your plant is too dry, it makes bubbling sounds to let you know your plant is thirsty — and it’ll keep doing it until the soil is moist again.
PlantPetz won’t break the bank — the small pot is $40, and a large pot is $60.
There’s also a flower vase for $45. In this case, if you touch a bouquet in the vase or talk to it, it spins around and will also play any pre-recorded message. So you could give someone flowers for a special occasion, and have the bouquet announce your congratulatory or birthday message every time your gift recipient touches the flowers.
The PlantPetz products have been in development for five years, and made their global debut at CES in Las Vegas. They’re in production now, and should be available soon.
How can we ever give a normal plant as a gift now, when there’s an option to make it into a cute little pet that comes to life?