Computerized Plants: Can We Really Grow Technology?

Now that Christmas is just around the corner, I’ve begun noticing houses being lit up by Christmas lights. I love driving around looking at the different displays that people put up. Some of my favorite displays have lights synchronized to a music system; I not only love how the lights are timed to music but how the objects change from one color to another.

Thanks to research underway in Sweden, we may not have to wait for Christmas and the dark of night to enjoy these types of displays. Researchers have discovered a way to use a plant’s own biology to grow electronics inside itself. This was done by placing organic building blocks into the water source of rose plants, which eventually grew into “wires” throughout the rose’s stem and leaves. Once the wires were built, or more aptly – grownresearchers were able to create an electrical circuit and manipulate the plant’s appearance, changing its color!

The benefits of such a discovery aren’t limited to creating modern Christmas decorations. Researchers are looking at this breakthrough as a way to monitor plants and let growers know if the plants need more or less water or fertilizer, or if they should prevent the plant from flowering and save it from oncoming harsh weather. It also has the potential to harness natural energy, a real “power plant”.

This type of discovery brings immeasurable potential. Wouldn’t it be nice to see this tied to alarm systems? Imagine if someone broke into your house – not only would an alarm sound, but all of the trees in your yard could instantly change color to alert anyone passing by that you were in danger. What about a gas leak or a medical emergency? With an appropriate signal, your landscaping could turn colors and not only alert someone outside, but also make your home more noticeable to first responders.

While there are many valuable, and practical, uses for this type of technology, I’m still excited about the possibility of going to a party where the flowers, trees, and even the grass change colors, maybe even timed to music. How would you like to see this type of new technology used? Please let me know in the comments below!

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