Tech we’d like to have: glowing foliage

Followers of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ will enjoy this 1. Effectively, a group of scientists have just announced they’d like to provide the world glowing crops! (Yes, you read that right). The proposed technology could, in the future, give us bioluminescent plants as an alternative to streetlights. The scientists’ eventual goal is to produce vegetation so light that you could study by them in otherwise entire darkness.

The thought is to work with a kind of genetic engineering (purposely: Synthetic Biology, where scientists synthesize the desired genes rather than purely splicing them in) that allows you to create a strain of plant that can glow, visibly, during the dark.

However, for all the considerable talk about replacing streetlamps, obtaining a potted plant to improve in any way, is job one.

Obviously, we have seen ‘glowing’ insects and vegetation in the past, actually, glowing zebra fish are a man-made invention which can be available in lots of pet shops. In those cases, a glowing jellyfish protein is spliced into the animal’s DNA, with the effect of making the animal glow, but simply when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Why we would like it:

Man, glowing plants.

When can we expect it?

As I said, its been completed already. A couple of years ago, a different team of scientists made a glowing tobacco plant by infusing it with genes from the type of light-emitting bacterium that lives inside the sea. The difficulty was, that the light emitted by the plant was not very bright. Actually, it is barely noticeable.

Nevertheless, it’s not all doom and darkness (groan!). This is the kind of tale that has for sale magazines and garners web hits, so expect it to accept a lot of coverage. Where there is coverage, there may be money and where there’s cash, there may be usually rapid growth. To this point, the group responsible for dreaming up this concept has garnered at least $250,000 on US blog ‘Kickstarter.com’, so things are categorically moving onward.

The possibility for glowing floral displays, bouquets of bright flowers, light-emitting roses for dining establishments and so forth will make sure that enough people shall be donating to this concept, with more looking to put money into the eventual harvest itself.

…And that’s before we even get the green implications of an power-efficient light supply. The science fiction writer in me cannot prevent, but picture this like a bold first step into a biotechnological expectations, where everything, plus your computer, is self-sustaining. In the end, what could be the Human brain if not the final biological workstation?

Nevertheless, I don’t know about the ‘Treetlamps’ (I really wish they do not get called that), but we can expect the essential technology to emerge fairly soon, I imagine. This new technique absolutely has the possibility to achieve its objectives, nonetheless it’s hard to imply precisely when (or if) that might be. For now, I would leave it a decade, at least.

Cool Factor: 4/5

The environmental functions on their own are genuinely staggering. Furthermore, the sights we may just be treated to would be merely incredible. The list of purposes for tech like this is as long as your arm and the subject material is both fascinating and worth discussing at events. Bring over the glowing trees, I say!