Spinach can now send emails. I can’t think of any witty openers when the ludicrousness of the situation is right there.
To elaborate, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed nanotechnology enabling spinach — the leafy green plant great for salads — with email-sending capabilities.
This bizarre spinach experiment is not for sharing spooky chain messages, notifying you of lucrative offers from Nigerian princes, or penis enlargements, but is designed to identify and notify scientists of explosives.
Due to the large root system spinach grows, MIT’s scientists engineered a way to read signals emitted by the plant when detects foreign compounds in groundwater, such as the explosive nitroaromatics compound found in landmines.
Infrared cameras fixed on the spinach capable of picking up the signals then sends an email to notify researchers of the foreign compound.
Other than hitting up your inbox with the latest in explosives news, researchers believe the spinach experiment has climate change-detecting promise.
“Plants are very environmentally responsive,” Professor Michael Strano, a chemical engineer at MIT, said.
“They know that there is going to be a drought long before we do. They can detect small changes in the properties of soil and water potential. If we tap into those chemical signalling pathways, there is a wealth of information to access.”
Spinach isn’t the only plant-based food with greater environmental-saving potential; a university student won the 2020 James Dyson Sustainability Award for the AuREUS project, which sees food waste transformed into a renewable energy-producing material.
What’s next, spinach sliding into your DMs? Spam sending spam?
Do you like what you're reading on Byteside? We're building a diverse, remotely distributed team of Australians to cover the digital world we love so much. And we need your support to thrive.
Whether a one-off donation or becoming a monthly supporter, every little helps pay the writers who are working here.
We're not in line for any free money from Facebook or Google. And we're not paywalling any content because we want everyone to be able to access what we do whether they can afford to pay or not. If you're one who can, a few dollars really does help us grow the pool and support writers to do great original work about tech, games and digital culture. Support Byteside now.