A while ago, I wrote a post about generating electricity through the use of trees. In the end, I imagined replacing our current wires-and-steel power plants with lush green forests. Well, apparently we are getting one step closer to replacing inanimate products with biological products. A research team at Disney (yes, Disney, I’m not sure whether I should be surprised or scared that Disney has a Research Division, it makes sense, but it still gives me shivers) has created a new technology they call Botanicus Interacticus. In short, sensors are connected to a living plant so that the plant itself becomes somewhat like a sensor. Based on where and how you touch the plant or the air near the plant, one can produce different effects. For instance, touching the stem of a plant could produce a musical tone, which can vary based on where you touch the stem. It’s a neat technology, and it certainly will change the way we look at human-computer interactions.
Another neat trait? All that’s requires for it to work is an electrode placed into the soil of the plant, so the technology is relatively cheap and the plant doesn’t need to be subjected to numerous impaled wires. Still, I’m not sure if the Disney Research team has considered the long term effects of conducting an electrical circuit through it (my previous post briefly covered the possible dangers). But if this does work as intended, we might be able to one day replace our wires with vines, replace our remote controllers with tiny house plants, or maybe drive a car with a surrounded assortment of flowers.