Blog offers potted history of life as a plant

Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:54am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - It has long been accepted that talking to plants can help them flourish, but have you ever wondered what they'd say in response?

Well a plant in Japan has its own blog that may help you understand.

"Midori-san," a 40 cm (16 inches) potted plant on a cafe counter in Kamakura, near Tokyo, blogs every day with the help of a sensor that measures electric signals and a computer algorithm that translates them into Japanese.

The plant, a hoya kerrii, is commonly called a "sweetheart plant" because of it leaf shape.

"We were initially interested in what plants are feeling and what they are reacting to where we can't see," said Satoshi Kuribayashi, a researcher involved in the project at Japan's Keio University.

The strength of electronic signals on the surface of Midori-san's heart-shaped green leaves, which react to light and human touch, are measured by a sensor attached to the plant, and this data is sent to a computer in the cafe.

The computer uses an algorithm to translate the signal data, as well as other factors -- including weather and temperature -- to translate them into words, which are automatically posted on Midori-san's blog (

"Today was a sunny day and I was able to sunbathe a lot... I had quite a bit of fun today," Midori-san, whose name means "green" in Japanese, posted on Oct 16.

The latest entry reads: "It was cloudy today. It was a cold day."   Continued...

<p>A woman looks at a blog of a potted plant named "Midori-san", meaning "green" in Japanese, during a photo opportunity at a cafe in Kamakura, near Tokyo October 21, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>