The technology of using plants as biosensors will make it possible to receive important information about the state of the environment from trees and shrubs in real time and transmit it via the Internet.
Plants, like other living things, are capable of emitting electrical signals. Their detection, collection and analysis provide important information about the environment. One signal can, for example, be triggered by a fire, the other by a certain chemical.
If we improve the technology for detecting plants and learn to understand the exact meaning of a particular signal, nothing prevents us from using, say, trees and shrubs as natural biosensors.
Let's say we are researching the effect of an acid on a plant and constantly receive a unique signal from it. Then we can say for sure: this signal corresponds to the action of the acid. This is the first step towards using plants as biosensors that can monitor changes in the state of the environment.
? Andrea Vitaletti, Director W-Lab at the University of Rome
Scientists have already managed to collect a huge amount of experimental data, working with tomatoes, cucumbers, tobacco. Their main task today? develop algorithms for miniature devices that they are going to attach to plants.
Andrea Vitaletti is going to create in the future a whole network of mini-sensors that will receive signals from plants and exchange them with each other via radio waves, thus forming a virtual network like a computer.
© YouTube / Andrea Vitaletti
If the PLEASED (Plants Employed As Sensing Devices) project is fully implemented, people will have at their disposal a unique biosensor system that will constantly monitor the state of the environment in parks, gardens and on the streets, and transmit this information like webcams over the Internet.