A laboratory at Stony Brook University, working with designer Dann Roosegaarde, has developed a glowing plant by merging luciferin–which is the chemical that enables fireflies to glow–with a simple plant. The result is a plant, in dirt, that glows. Naturally.
And it is awesome.
Roosegaarde, a self-described designer/artist/architect from the Netherlands, pronounced his vision for the future of technology incorporation at the 2014 SXSW in Austin, Texas.
His concept is based on “merging worlds of nature and technology” by taking what we can learn from nature and applying that to the world through the building of technology–namely, the urban landscape.
In fact, he says, this marriage of our super- and sans-natural environment will drive the perception of technology to “completely disappear” and humans will not longer rely exclusively on screens to gain information and utility.
“What can we learn from that?” Roosegaarde asks. As it turns out, a lot.
Take lighting, for example. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent organization, lighting–including street lights across America’s millions of miles of urban routes–accounts for more than 1/5 of all commercial energy consumption.
So while we humans use a massive amount of generated electricity to defeat darkness, Jellyfish create their own light deep underwater without solar panels, wind turbines, or hydroelectric dams. Instead, the organism generates power completely autonomously.
Cue Roosegaarde’s project: His vision is realized by transforming a magnificent aspect of our human mechanical world where we can replace centuries-old, energy-guzzling street lamps with beautifully glowing trees.
The concept makes sense–and is unimaginably cool:
“I mean, come on,” Roosegaarde adds, “that will be incredibly fascinating to have this energy neutral, but at the same time, this very poetic landscape.”
Yes, it wood be.
Top photo: RyansWorld: Billings, Montana on Future Wikia // Body photos: Screenshots of Zeen Vimeo video
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.