In weird science news: scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been experimenting with spinach plants and engineering them to send e mails. And the reason for this weird experiment? To help us humans find landmines.
Using nanotechnology the MIT scientists were able to place tiny electronic sensors on the plant’s leaves. These sensors help the roots know if they come into contact with certain chemicals, for instance nitroaromatics, which are found in explosives.
When the plant detects the chemical it gives off a signal which is detected by an infrared camera. This in turn triggers a computer to send an email to alert the scientists.
Professor Michael Strano has been leading the research which is part of the growing field of nanobionics (the technology of giving plant’s new skills)
“Plants are very good analytical chemists. They have an extensive root network in the soil, are constantly sampling groundwater, and have a way to self-power the transport of that water up into the leaves……This is a novel demonstration of how we have overcome the plant/human communication barrier.”Professor Michael Strano, MIT
Source: The Guardian