This Tech Startup Will Let Plants Talk to You

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Director of the Entrepreneur Partner Studio
2 min read

Shhh. Listen close. Your plants are talking to you.

That’s what researchers at Vivent SARL think, anyway. The Switzerland-based company has developed something they call Phytl Signs -- a “wearable” device for plants.

The device comes with a stake that gets driven into the soil next to a plant, as well as a clip that’s placed onto a leaf. Inside both are sensors that apparently capture and amplify the electrical signals that plants -- either indoors or outside -- emit in response to their environment. The researchers say plants will fire off signals based on conditions like light/darkness, damage to the plant, and more.

The signals are then transmitted to the Phytl Signs app on your phone or tablet.

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According to the product’s Kickstarter page: “Is your plant thriving or is it stressed? Is it active or quiet? Are pests damaging your plants? Through their electrical signals plants show how they are responding to their environment.”

So, it’s more about interpreting signals than actually having a conversation with your plants. Gotcha.

While Vivent SARL says it can collect these signals, it admits that no one really knows what they mean just yet. “Ultimately, by decoding these signals we could help ensure the ecosystem that protects us all is thriving,” the Kickstarter page says. “We could feed more people, reduce the scourge of plant diseases, minimize the water used in agriculture... the possibilities are really exciting for anyone interested in the environment, sustainability, the future of food and open agriculture.”

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Through the app, people can join the Phytl Signs “community” to talk about the signals. The hope is that they eventually, someday, hopefully, maybe will decode the mysteries of plant signals. Very deep.

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