Plants are living creatures. There's even been debates as to their protection and rights as living creatures, and in some cases, they've been granted those protections by governing law. Minus that I think it makes for an interesting late night conversation, I'm not extremely interested in exploring the potential emotions of plants.
But, plants are living creatures, and will adapt and adjust their forms to accommodate to their environment. We've discussed this on D.U.S. before, diving into theories of mixing solar technology to create a fusion of botanical robotized organisms, de-shackled from ground and root structure and provided with greater mobility to seek out elemental necessities. But mostly to promote healthier plant growth, and create urban space with dynamic qualities.
This mixing of nature and technology, whether through genetic manipulation or mechanical empowerment paints a spectrum of the wildest possibilities, from playful interaction and color, to haunting Sci-fi like imageries.
Researchers at New York University's interactive telecommunications program have come up with a device that allows plants to tell owners when they need water or if they've had too much via the social network blogging service Twitter.
The device is made of soil-moisture sensors that are connected to a circuit board. They measure the level of moisture, and then communicate the information to a microcontroller. So it would seem that if we have the ability to control a computer from these sensors, then we could indeed incorporate these sensor controls into a mechanized, mobile system, then wa-la, plants are programmed to detect and move to water and sun sources when needed.
This actually in a way occurs naturally. For centuries in North America boreal forests have been migrating north following the retreat of glaciers and escaping a gradually warming climate. Of course this migration occurred over thousands of years and took vast amounts of scientific research to uncover.
But what if we enabled plants with the robotized mobility discussed above. While climates remained relatively calm their patterns of movement easily designed and controlled. But what happens when resources become scarce and the necessity of life overpowers our control. In the same way we can envision water, land, energy, and food wars in the future, what if trees with mechanic mobility were added to the mix. Entire forests of water starved Elms, Oaks, and Maples march across the landscape in search of replenishment. Programmed to detect reserves, they seek and destroy satellite cities living off grid and there own water supplies. Once designed for dynamic space in the urban setting, and to adapt to altered urban microclimates, the trees become just one other species desperately trying to survive a climate changing planet.
You can actually follow the Twittering plant mentioned above at: http://twitter.com/pothos