Could nano-bionics make plants replace light bulbs, and talk to us? 

In December of 2017, researchers at MIT announced they had found a way to create light-emitting plants. They achieved this by embedding specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of watercress plants that allowed them to give off a very dim light for nearly four hours.

It was believed that with further optimization, these plants could one day be bright enough to illuminate a home or office.

Today, MIT engineers have upgraded their light-emitting plants to be able to be charged by a LED in just 10 seconds, glow 10 times brighter than their first generation of plants, and last for several minutes. They can even be recharged repeatedly.

The specialized nanoparticles contain the enzyme luciferase, a substance found in light-emitting fireflies. This process is an example of the emerging field of “plant nano-bionics,” wherein researchers develop ways to augment plants with novel features. 

In order to make their plants glow longer, MIT created and used a “light capacitor,” which is normally the part of an electrical circuit that can store photons and release them when needed.

The researchers showed that after 10 seconds of blue LED exposure, their plants could emit light for about an hour. The light was brightest for the first five minutes and then gradually diminished. The plants can be continually recharged for at least two weeks.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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