What Do Your Plants Have To Say?

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – It’s a common belief that speaking to your plants is good for them, but what happens when they speak back? A local florist is exploring what plants have to say. 

Normally when a plant goes through photosynthesis there is some electricity produced. Kyle Sholl, with Bloom Buddies in Downtown Jamestown, has turned that bio-electricity into audible sound waves.

“Everybody’s heard of photosynthesis,“ explained Sholl. “What’s happening is as the plant’s are taking in UV light and doing photosynthesis, they’re drawing water up through the soil, and in that they’re creating very low impediments of electricity, which is measured by these pads I have attached to the plants.” 

With the help of a eurorack modular synthesizer, Sholl is able to take in the electricity made by plants during the photosynthesis process and ramp up the voltage into audible sound.

The synthesizer can work with more than just plans, as any living thing is capable of producing bio-electricity.

“If we hooked it up to you, in fact we’ve done that a couple different times with different people,” said Sholl. “It produces similar noises, but they’re a lot more active. Because you and I produce more electricity than a plant does.”

While the noise produced is measurable based on energy consumption, interaction with a specimen, like touching it, can impact the noise produced.

“One of the most exciting ways to get noise out of them, people have found is by holding a flame under a mushroom,“ explained Sholl. “People typically don’t do that, but that does produce a lot of electrical stimulation in that plant.”   

Originally used to harness energy from the sun, the ability to harness energy and create music with plants is fascinating to Sholl.

“The whole things really was born out of researchers at Stanford, and a facility in Italy, trying to create a new process for solar power,“ said Sholl. “Instead of using a typical panel that’s 30 percent efficient, a plant is almost 100 percent efficient. So they’re using oleander trees with artificial leaves, and it’s a very similar process to this. Albeit on a nano level as opposed to patches.” 


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