Prosthetics are not just for mammals anymore

This article about cyborg plants is full of all sorts of potential scifi goodness.

Cyborg Plant consists of a simple avocado plant (Persea americana) which is nurtured by an attached robotic prosthesis. The prosthesis measures the avocado’s drought stress — indicated by “the position of the leaves and the electrical potential within the trunk” — and irrigates the plant as required. This attachment, which is essentially a spacesuit for plants, enables the avocado to live indoors without human attention for much longer periods of time than would otherwise be possible (the interior of a built space being nearly as hostile for plants as land is for fish).

Or how about:

This might sound like a far-fetched idea, but, as Next Nature notes, a Filipino scientist produced a bio-luminescent Christmas tree by covering it in bio-luminescent bacteria harvested from local squid in 2007, and other researchers have proposed applications for (truly) bio-luminescent plants ranging from lighting highways (which, assuming that the bioluminescent trees would at some point begin to naturalize, might produce the most strikingly beautiful displays of exotic plant invasion imaginable) to crops which glow when they need water. Mushrooms make forests glow; why shouldn’t trees make cities glow?

It also talks about networking plants. As we continue to mechanize food production, cyborg plants are going to become part of our understanding of ‘nature’. What surprises me more, however, is how little this appears in scifi. The concept seems so obvious once you start thinking about it; mammals are made cyborg all the time. Why not plants as well? It often seems that our networked future is entirely too anthro- and mammalian-centric.

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