Comcast Invents Smart Water Sprinkler

In a residential neighborhood divided between Comcast and AT&T customers, the Comcast homes may soon be the ones with sprinkler systems that don’t turn on while it’s raining.

Adam EngThe smart water sprinkler is one of the latest Internet of Things inventions hatched by Comcast inventors. Denver-based engineer Adam Eng is named as lead inventor on a patent application titled, “Automated Control System,” which was published on Thursday.

Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to a method that may include receiving a watering restriction for a location, detecting that a sprinkler controller is associated with a property within the location, and transmitting, to the sprinkler controller, the watering restriction. Additionally, a method may include receiving, at a sprinkler controller, a watering restriction for a location, the sprinkler controller associated with a property within the location, and adjusting, in response to the watering restriction, a sprinkling schedule for the property. Furthermore, a method may include receiving weather prediction information associated with a property, updating, in response to the weather prediction information, a sprinkling schedule for a sprinkler system associated with the property, receiving, after a time period, updated weather prediction information for the property, and updating the sprinkling schedule based on a comparison between the sprinkling schedule and the weather prediction information over the time period.

Claims: 

  1. A method comprising: receiving, at a computing device, a watering restriction for a geographic location; detecting that a sprinkler controller is associated with a property within the geographic location; and transmitting, to the sprinkler controller, the watering restriction.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the sprinkler controller responds to the watering restriction by adjusting a sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. The method of claim 2, further comprising: receiving confirmation that the sprinkler controller associated with the property responded to the watering restriction by adjusting the sprinkling schedule for the property; and transmitting, to an entity issuing the watering restriction, the confirmation.
  1. The method of claim 3, wherein transmitting the confirmation entitles the property to a lower water rate from the entity.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the geographic location comprises a county, and the watering restriction comprises a county-specific watering restriction.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a different watering restriction for a different geographic location; detecting that a different sprinkler controller is associated with a different property within the different geographic location; and transmitting, to the different sprinkler controller, the different watering restriction.
  1. The method of claim 6, wherein the geographic location comprises a subsection of a county and the different geographic location comprises a different subsection of the county.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: requesting the watering restriction for the geographic location from a different computing device that is in communication with an entity that issues the watering restriction.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving weather information for the geographic location; and transmitting the weather information to the sprinkler controller, wherein the sprinkler controller responds to the weather information by adjusting a sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a soil-moisture content reading from a different sprinkler controller associated with a different property within the geographic location; determining that a distance from the different property to the property falls within a threshold; and transmitting, to the sprinkler controller, the soil-moisture content reading from the different sprinkler controller, wherein the sprinkler controller responds to the soil-moisture content reading by adjusting a sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. The method of claim 10, wherein adjusting the sprinkling schedule for the property comprises comparing a soil type for the property and a soil type for the different property, wherein a result of the comparing impacts the sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. The method of claim 11, wherein the soil type for the property or the soil type for the different property comprises at least one of a percolation rate, a precipitation rate, and an infiltration rate.
  1. A method comprising: receiving, at a sprinkler controller, a watering restriction for a geographic location, wherein the sprinkler controller is associated with a property within the geographic location; and adjusting, in response to the watering restriction, a sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: adjusting a different sprinkling schedule for the property, wherein the sprinkling schedule is associated with a zone of the property and the different sprinkling schedule is associated with a different zone of the property.
  1. The method of claim 14, wherein a soil-moisture sensor, located within the zone of the property, detects soil-moisture content of soil within the zone of the property, and further wherein the sprinkler controller adjusts the sprinkling schedule for the zone of the property in response to a combination of the watering restriction and the soil-moisture content of the soil within the zone of the property.
  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: receiving weather information for the property; and adjusting, in response to the weather information, the sprinkling schedule.
  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: transmitting, to a user device, the sprinkling schedule for the property; receiving, from the user device, a request to adjust the sprinkling schedule for the property; and adjusting, in response to the request, the sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: transmitting, to a user device, an alert associated with the sprinkling schedule for the property.
  1. A method comprising: receiving, by a computing device, weather prediction information associated with a property; updating, in response to the weather prediction information, a sprinkling schedule for a sprinkler system associated with the property; receiving, after a time period, updated weather prediction information for the property; and updating the sprinkling schedule based on a comparison between the sprinkling schedule and the weather prediction information over the time period.
  1. The method of claim 19, wherein the comparison comprises determining that the sprinkling schedule was adjusted to compensate for the weather prediction information, and wherein the updated weather prediction information indicates that actual weather was different than predicted weather.