Meet Ms. Julie
Ms. Julie is a Middle School Substitute Teacher. Her days are different, sometimes chaotic, as she moves from classroom to classroom, day by day. She loves her work. She's new to the school district and has high hopes to stay. 
She lives in an apartment alone. She is Covid-sensitive and stays home most of the time. Mostly, Julie lives an exceptionally healthy and clean lifestyle. 

In March 2020 Julie’s classrooms went online, so she is spending much more time at home. She bought five house plants to liven up the apartment and quickly grew an affection. This past summer she bought some more and around Thanksgiving Julie brought home a new set of plants for the living room. Her affection is growing even deeper. "A pet is so much more work and I love the energy and life that plants brings my home!".
Julie feels really busy working from home, so she needs any help she can maintain her plant passion. She noticed that sometimes she forgets to water the ones that don't need water often, like her succulents.

Julie’s favorite part of being a self proclaimed plant mom is watching them grow over time. Since winter is coming, she needs to water some plants less and is afraid to over water them. Julie already lost one of her first plants because she gave it too much water. She’s afraid to overwater her first succulent, so she wants to invest in a solution to fix this problem.

Julie started looking for soil moisture notification devices. This is what she found: a) She loves all the features, but the utilitarian design does not fit her aesthetic, b) She likes the organic form, the shape of the device, but the analog meter is easy to ignore. She wants a more active notification, c) She loves the light notification, but the product seems cheap and the design does not fit her needs.
Through Julie’s research, she discovered that she identifies better with a “smart plant” that tracks the particular plant included. Understanding the competitive landscape including brands, technologies, etc. to find the area of unmet needs. This coordinate system visualizes product values relative to the user’s self-image. Y-axis is the magnitude of intellectual complexity [like self-actualization in Maslow's hierarchy of needs]. X-axis is the level of interactivity. For example, quadrant one is a Ferrari, a symbol of peak interactivity and actualization, whereas the Mona Lisa is also high in intellectual appreciation, but low in interactivity. 
An Idea To Help Julie Care For Her Plants
To create a remote presence device that addresses this year’s transition to working online we designed an entirely new house plant product. Woven into the Pachira Aquatica [Money Tree] is a bionic root that communicates with our target user, Ms. Julie. This artificial root lives and grows with house-plant, monitoring and reporting its wellness throughout its lifetime.
A light indicator that represents the plant’s overall health. With a light sensor and a moisture sensor, the system can detect, compute, and identify the plant’s general health status.
When interviewing Julie she shared her interest in vintage Nintendo Game Boy with a translucent enclosure. So the materials are designed to visually integrate itself feeling a part of the plant, highlighted by a translucent enclosure. The cables also intend to aesthetically mimic plant fibers. Embedded in the artificial root is a moisture sensor that sends a signal to the mounted LED. The sensor and LEDs are connected to an Arduino, a sensor is inserted into the soil, and an LED light is positioned on the tip of the bionic monitor. Inside the antenna are cables leading to the root of the plant. 
If the soil moisture level is critically low, the light pulses a quick amber red. If the moisture level is moderately low there is a blue-to-magenta pulse. The benefits: a) Julie has one less thing to worry about. She can rest assured that she'll be notified by the bionic monitor, b) When it is dark outside, the diffused light becomes a night light with a glow-in-the-dark theme. This light is connected to a photocell resistor that automatically detects low-light. Julie likes this as a night-light mode because it helps her get to the bathroom at night, c) and on a spiritual level, the cyan color feels like a symbol of life. Julie says that the night light reminds her that the plant is a living thing and provides viewing pleasure in low-lighting.  
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