Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Message from the Sunflower-- "I am Thirsty"

Microchipped plants can now send text messages to a farmer’s cell phone and request water.

"It's akin to a clip on earring, very thin and smaller than a postage stamp, and is affixed to the plant leaf," said Richard Stoner, President of AgriHouse, a company marketing the technology.
You could use your regular cell phone service, and the plant would send you a text message when it needed water.

I am sure the wheels in your head are turning. The moment I read this article mine started as well.

George sent this link to me a few days ago. The moment I read it I immediately thought what if this concept could be translated to animals… Especially dogs.. Right now I am going through the housebreaking PROCESS with Ava Marie. Can I tell you its FRUSTRATING :) But her sweet little CUTE self kind of balances this equation.. But anyway the point is what if this whole concept could be transferred onto animals. If she could tell me she had to “go” we could speed up this process.. But back to the article at hand.

For areas that receive regular or generous rainfall this whole idea might not prove to be useful or economical. But for the western United States, where much of the water comes from underground aquifers, conserving water, and more importantly, conserving the electricity that pumps it to the surface and across fields, could save farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

They have also listed the implications for outer space. The original idea of cell phone plant communication was actually developed years ago by NASA scientist engineering future manned missions to the moon and Mars.

"You need plants on future space missions," said Hans-Dieter Seelig, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who worked on the original NASA project.

Of course plants convert carbon dioxide waste into breathable oxygen and the astronauts can use the plants as food. They also concluded that astronauts wouldn’t be able to bring along near enough food or supplies for the estrimated two-year mission to Mars. Therefore this can be used to reduce the amount of time and supplies necessary to sustain crops. Astronauts would know exactly how much water to give the plants.

During the initial NASA tests the scientists were able to reduce the amount of water necessary to grow plants by 10 percent to 40 percent.

The existing sensors have to be connected to a power source to take readings and transmit them over commercial cell phone towers. Stoner hopes that future sensors can be equipped with batteries, solar panels or even piezoelectric generators to generate the power necessary to run the sensors and transmitters.
Water in the western United States might be relatively cheap, but the electric bills to pump the water from underground aquifers do add up.

Bottom Line is sustainability in space might keep astronauts alive, and on Earth it's likely to save farmers time and money.

Actual Story-- Tech lets Plants Phone for Water

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