What if your plants could email you to ask for water?

CRAIN'S COMMENTS

We’re in the early stages of this, but it’s coming.

MIT scientists have developed a spinach plant with built-in nanotubes that glow when it detects a certain condition nearby. The tubes glow when the sensor is triggered, and a camera activates that sends a picture of the glowing tubes to the monitoring station.

The initial test apparently was to detect for explosives. However, the nanotubes can be programmed for any number of conditions. We can only presume that these capabilities will get more elaborate in the future. Imaging walking into a room and hearing, “Hey you, we nee some water over here!” I do hope the plants will be taught manners. But we’re talking about scientists here, so who knows.

Which spinach plants? Nothing to do with cartoon characters. In turns out they have strong and sophisticated capabilities to sense their environment, and it’s easier to use the plant than…

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