Do not get way too excited about seeing plants come to life like in some of those Harry Potter flicks. At times we do feel Hollywood has spoiled some of us with our expectations being raised to a sci-fi level. Researchers at Keio University though are devising an interesting system in which plants will respond with motion and interact with human, albeit in a pre-programmed and mechanical fashion. The project uses strings, actuators and a stepping motor that will be responsible for inducing motion into the plants.
The process seems a lot less simple than you would think. They research group has used motion sensors and microphones to detect human movement and when this is triggered off, it ticks off the stepping motor and the two sensors that are attached to it for the sake of perfect timing. The moment the motion detectors sense the wave of your hand, the set up is triggered and the plant will wave right back at you. The movement of the plant will be in accordance to your own gesture and pre-programmed input will control it.
The technology might not seem all that special, but it does add a cool little interactive element to plants that are grown indoors. It probably will encourage more people to invite greenery into their own homes and that is always a huge plus. The researchers are now trying to achieve the same results for plants of varied shapes and size. These plants might not be able to talk to you and advice you like those conjured up by movie special effects, but they can still bring fresh air along with a dash of amusement into your home. That is good enough for us!