‘Moss-FM’ is the world’s first plant-powered radio.
It was developed by the designer Fabienne Felder, with support from scientists Paolo Bombelli and Ross Dennis. The radio runs entirely on energy produced by moss.
During photosynthesis, plants create surplus protons and electrons. Ten pots of moss produce about 25 microampere at 4.5 volts, enough to charge a battery that allows Moss FM to run. Using electricity from nature is one thing, but understanding why moss is producing it, is something else.
According to Swiss researchers Mousavi and Chauvin, the nervous system of animals are capable of sending electrical signals at speeds up to 100 meter per second. Plants do this at speeds up to 3 meter per second.
This means that a tree in the Netherlands can send a message throughout the country in less than 2 hours and a tree in the south of Germany can send a message in a bit more then one day throughout Europe. If a tree in Paris, France would want to send a message to a tree in Shanghai, China, then this would take about 4 days.
The question, what plants are talking about under our feed, is still a mystery.
Is it true that trees and flowers, like the beautiful one above, communicate with each other? What language do they use?
The ocean-floors are full of filament-like structures formed by plants that produce electricity. More and more research begins to demonstrate that the key necessities for all life on earth is indeed electricity. Anything from shrubs, to ants, to birds, to people, harness energy via the transference of electrons. Some experts think that the very first cell-like organisms on earth channelled electricity from the seafloor using filament-shaped gardens.
In a study (2015), NASA researchers Laurie Barge and Michael Russell reported growing their own tiny plant-like filaments in a laboratory and using them to power a light bulb. The findings demonstrate that the underwater structures may have indeed given an electrical boost to earth’s first life forms.
But organic life doesn’t want to get shocked, so it needs exactly the right amount of electricity. The experiment shows what that amount of electricity might be — just under one volt. The puzzle as to why plants generate electricity is now on the table. It is part of a re-evaluation in which electrical signals and frequencies seem to be the key.
Plants themselves of course do not use these electricity to power light bulbs. Research suggests that they generate the electricity to energize very sophisticated systems of communications. The decoding of the electric language among plants has started, not only deep down on the ocean-floor, but also among the passion flowers, the roses and the pine-trees.
The question arises; what happens with these natural lines of electric communication if they get exposed to artificial electric fields and signals? What are they doing with the radiation that is emitted from a phonecall?
In his work Professor of plant biology Massimo Maffei has been exploring the relationship between the earth magnetic field and plant responses. This research is becoming increasingly important as new evidence reveals the sensitivity and reactivity of plants to varying magnetic fields, for example by altering their gene expression, their growth and development.
The current view is that life on this planet has evolved in response to changes in the geomagnetic field and that these changes will have consequences. The magnetic component of artificial electric radiation produced by mobile phone base stations, wifi etc. has hardly been researched but will also have consequences.
Scientists have only recently started to understand that plants need electrical signals in multiple ways, but it is unknown what the long term impact will be of al the electro-pollutants that are beginning to invade every park and every forest.
Understanding geomagnetic field effects on life will provide the fundamental background necessary to understand the evolution of life in different ways and may help us to develop sensible recommendations for our future relationship with the ecosystem.