Talking plants are no longer the works of fantasy or science fiction – a far cry from the intimidating Audrey II of The Little Shop of Horrors, and its sinister appetite, a plant in a Japanese cafe has become the world’s first non-human blogger, claim scientists.
Japanese IT company KAYAC Co., Ltd. has developed a sophisticated botanical interface system that allows plants to post their “thoughts” or impulses online.
Satoshi Kuribayashi, who is part of the project at Keio University, says that the aim of the project is to study ways of communicating with plants, and reveal something about their internal world:
“We were initially interested in what plants are feeling and what they are reacting to where we can’t see,” he said.
Customers at the Bowls Cafe in Kamakura, near Tokyo, are taking a keen interest in their green friend’s musings.
The plant – named Midori-san – which lives on the counter of a Japanese café, writes regular updates with the help of sensors attached to its leaves. These detectors pick up bio-electronic signals on the surface of the plant, which responds to light and human touch. A computer algorithm is then used to interpret the data, combined with information about temperature and the weather, into chatty blog posts, such as:
“Today was a sunny day and I was able to sunbathe a lot. I had quite a bit of fun today.”
A more recent entry was less chirpy: “It was cloudy today. It was a cold day.”
Midori-san is a hoya kerrii, which are more commonly called “sweetheart plants” because of their heart-shaped leaves.
According to a 2007 study, more blog posts are written in Japanese than either Chinese or English. So blogging proves to be yet another trend that the technology-savvy Japanese have taken to their hearts.
22 October 2008 13:17