I came across an intriguing link today, about interactive plant technology. By sticking an electrode into the soil of a potted plant (or tree?), a user can touch the plant and see and hear the interactions on a computer. Perhaps it could improve plant/people relations?

I wonder what the purpose is, though, because it doesn’t make the plant any more personable or make the user more aware of the plant’s internal processes. Whatever interaction the user sees on screen is basically what they themselves have caused, and the software doesn’t seem to measure the plant’s changing over time. Couldn’t you hook up any inanimate object in the same way?

Perhaps then it stimulates the plant’s growth, because it encourages physical touching and attention and/or breathing over it, releasing carbon dioxide. Studies have shown that vegetation can think and feel pain, and some people swear that plants grow better when you devote your conscious attention to them, so why not electrical stimulation?

There might be a downside, though, if the user’s intention is malicious. Water may or may not have memory and according to some people, structures itself according to people’s thoughts, so why wouldn’t plants be affected by this too?

Whatever it’s meant to do, I see it as a tool for the user to see himself (or herself) within the plant. Sort of an ego projection, the “I am” in the plant.