A Fitbit… for plants?

You’ve heard of wearables: watches that track activity levels, sheets that map sleep patterns, armbands that measure body temperature – and the list goes on. Now, a Swiss company is attempting to develop a wearable for plants. You heard right – plants.

Vivent Sárl, a privately-held company, has launched a Kickstarter for PhytlSigns EXPLORER.

By attaching a gentle leaf clip and inserting a ground stake, users will be able to see plan signals transmitted onto phones or tablets.

You might be wondering what exactly plants have to say. Do they get excited when they see a bumblebee? Do they brag about being organic? Are they scared of vegetarians?

eco

By understanding plants, we could feed more people, stop plant diseases in their tracks, and minimize the resources expended in agriculture.

While they don’t communicate the same ways we do, PhytlSigns proves our flowered friends have a language entirely their own.

“By analysing the signals our plants are emitting we can start to unlock the messages within them, and ultimately – decode the language of plants,” says Nigel Wallbridge, Tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Vivent Sárl.

Here’s the science. Plants use electrical signals to communicate internally. Though these signals were discovered in 1873, electromagnetic interference made it impossible to get accurate readings. PhytlSigns amplifies the electrical signals, tracking and relaying the changes that occur when a plant is watered, sick or bothered by pests.

In short, think of it as a plant translator.

The technology isn’t just for casual gardeners or curious naturalists.  From ecosystem management to agriculture to medicine, understanding plant communication has the potential to be far-reaching and game changing.

PhytlSigns has already been trialled and covered by New Scientist and has instigated some buzz. Now, the company awaits backers in hopes of reaching a US$75,000 goal. Once the company has bought enough tooling and components for the first large production run, Kickstarter backers will be able to listen to their plants as early as April 2017.

Suffice to say, we’re excited. Two green thumbs up!

About 

After growing up surrounded by technology, Alexandra enjoys looking both critically and curiously at the new innovations all around her. As well as writing for WRLWND, Alexandra is a content contributor for IT in Canada, where she can watch the industry unfold from a front row seat. She is going into her second year of Journalism studies.

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