MIT scientists are showing off engineered cyborg spinach that they say are capable of sending emails to their creators.
They don’t use a mouse and keyboard, of course – instead carbon nanotubes within their leaves emit a fluorescent signal detectable by infrared cameras.
When the cameras detect a change, a simple device sends an email to researchers. This could offer valuable warning signals, the researchers believe.
The plants are particularly good at sensing chemicals in the air, soil, and groundwater, so building these is actually simpler than creating a machine to do the same thing.
The technology is not unique: it’s part of an emerging field known as ‘plant nanobionics’ where electronic components work within or with plants.
In the future, scientists believe, these cyborgs can also offer warnings about pollution or even climate change as in an early version of the experiment, this team used nanoparticles to detect nitric oxide, a pollutant.
This is a novel demonstration of how we have overcome the plant/human communication barrier.
Reference- Yahoo News, Nature Materials, Futurism, The Guardian, Our Daily Planet