Taking selfies is so easy even a monkey could do it. But would you ever think a plant could take a selfie? Well, sort of. The scientists at ZSL London Zoo have developed the world’s first plant-powered camera system. It uses the energy from a fern named Pete which powers the camera – so the plant can take its own photo.
Meet Pete, the world's first selfie plant. ??
Posted by BBC London on Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Basically, the tiny camera uses the energy a plant produces while feeding the bacteria in the soil. Here’s how the ZSL scientists explain it:
“Plants naturally deposit biomatter as they grow, which in turn feeds the natural bacteria present in the soil, creating energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of vital conservation tools remotely, including sensors, monitoring platforms and camera traps.”
The tiny camera can snap a photo every 20 seconds. It’s an astonishing rate, considering that it’s powered only by plant energy. “Pete has surpassed our expectations,” says ZSL’s Conservation Technology Specialist Al Davies. “He’s been working so well we’ve even accidentally photobombed him a few times!”
We're glad to see our animals aren't the only ones who've taken an interest in Pete, our maidenhair fern who's become the worlds first plant to take a selfie. https://t.co/gzzKvs6DPn https://t.co/fgeQRXMDLI pic.twitter.com/tg0hhKEwYX
— ZSL London Zoo (@zsllondonzoo) October 16, 2019
The plant-powered camera is a groundbreaking discovery when it comes to conservation efforts. As all photographers know – battery life isn’t limitless (unfortunately). Even solar panels have their limitations: they rely only on the sunlight, which may not always be available. However, Davies explains that “plants can survive in the shade, naturally moving into position to maximise the potential of absorbing sunlight.” This means that the “potential for plant-powered energy is pretty much limitless.”
Plant-powered cameras can be used to record data in inhospitable and remote rainforest locations. These data could help conservationists to better understand the environment and climate changes, and understand and possibly prevent habitat loss.
I find this invention pretty epic and interesting, and of course – it will definitely be useful when applied. But what I also find kinda fun is that not only animals can take selfies – plants can now do it, too. : )