High-tech wizards have tried to get us to use our computers to control so many mundane daily tasks: opening and closing the drapes, turning on the hot tub, setting back our thermostats.
But so far, we’ve resisted, finding a quick yank on the drapery pull easy enough.
But here’s a device that might tip us toward high tech: a computer-controlled and weather-report-influenced sprinkler system.
Here’s how the Cyber-Rain system works: You program into your computer how much water and when you’d like each zone in your automatic sprinkler system to get. What are your zones? You name them in the software so you can recall them easier, such as the “side yard near Bob and Jean’s house.” Or the “strip near the street.”
The Cyber-Rain Access Point gizmo (which attaches through a USB port to your PC) sends a wireless signal to the controller telling it what to do and when. And it keeps track of water usage. And it adjusts for Daylight Savings Time.
But here’s the cool part: The software checks the weather report each day through your computer and, if rain is indicated, it’ll shut down watering for the following 24 hours.
According to the company: “Nearly 70 percent of landscape watering ends up as runoff contributing directly to pollution and water waste. The EPA ranks urban runoff and storm sewer discharges as the second most prevalent source of water quality impairment in our nation’s estuaries.”
The system costs $349 and the company claims it will likely pay for itself in seven months because of decreased water usage.