What Ever Happened to the Irristat?

Does anyone remember the Irristat (http://www.pipeline.com/~lenornst/irrist2.pdf )? It's a moisture-sensitive, self-regulating valve, designed to supply a plant with the exact amount of water it needs. All I can find on it are a few papers dated around the mid 90s. Since then it looks like its inventor, Leonard Ornstein, dropped off the face of the Earth. Does anyone know if these things ever went into commercial production? I'm tired of "automated" drip waterers that don't measure soil moisture, or soil moisture sensors that don't interface with automated waterers. This thing's small, simple, and requires no electricity. It sounds like the perfect watering solution, even for plants with temperamental watering needs.
Regards, Chris
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