I love houseplants. These days, who doesn’t?
In 2019, researchers invented PlantWave, an innovative piece of technology that claims to revolutionize the way we communicate with our houseplants. PlantWave works by modelling a plant’s biorhythms and turns them into music you can listen to. You need simply attach a couple of sensors to the plant’s leaves and connect them to PlantWave’s small, retro-style box. PlantWave then connects to your phone via Bluetooth to their free mobile app: from there, the sweet sounds of your plant can be played over a speaker or headphones. Each plant has a unique bioacoustic signature, and you can, for the first time, be serenaded by your houseplant.
Now, of course, your plant can’t choose between a selection of instruments, nor can it curate pleasant-sounding melodies. This is where the creators of PlantWave exercised some creative license in modelling bioacoustic waves. Electrical signatures for each plant are graphed as a wave, and the unique characteristics of the wave are categorized into pitch messages and a particular instrument, chosen by the creators of PlantWave. Other physical characteristics of the wave are also considered, giving each note a specific “texture”. PlantWave is even capable of connecting to a music synthesizer and other complex audio equipment. Just think, there very well could be a day when the hottest new DJs aren’t people, but plants.
What I love about this technology is that it offers an entirely new way to communicate and connect with nature, and it does so in a way that is easy and enjoyable. I firmly believe that a big part of creating a better relationship with the planet is understanding that we are a part of a larger global community, even if we can’t directly communicate with all of its entities. Technologies like PlantWave bridge this communication gap, and what’s more, we can enjoy the fruits of this connection.
Today, a beautiful aesthetic is emerging around owning and showcasing houseplants, and the enthusiasm around this trend is well deserved. Houseplants not only purify the air, but research has shown that being around plants is beneficial for our mental health. Before PlantWave, direct communication with our plants wasn’t possible, and so this technology allows us to go beyond appreciating plants purely for their beauty and function.
So, the next time you tend to your friendly ficus, sweet succulent, or majestic monstera, remember that PlantWave is here to forge a deeper connection between humans and our dear plants.
PlantWave. (2020). “How it works.” https://www.plantwave.com/home/#how-it-works
Photo by Courtenay Crane