Hearing Plants Giggle Is Just As Creepy As You Think

While best known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl wrote quite a few similarly oddball stories in his time. One of them, The Sound Machine, is about a device that allowed the user to hear the anguished screams of trees as they were cut down. Sounds kind of weird to us, but [Roni Bandini] liked the idea so much he decided to build his own version.

Now to be fair, the device doesn’t only scream in pain. In fact, most of the time it should be emitting laughs and happy noises. Using a moisture sensor driven into the soil of a plant’s pot, the device uses these audio cues to tell you the relative health of your leafy friend. So assuming you’ve got any sort of green thumb at all, things should be fine.

But once the soil gets too dry and the device determines the plant is in “pain”, things take a turn for the worse. We suppose it doesn’t technically scream out so much as grunt like a zombie, but it’s still not a noise we’d want to hear while walking through the house at night. Luckily, it seems you need to hit the button on the front of the 3D printed enclosure to get it to play the appropriate sound track from its DFPlayer module.

Personally we’d rather build something that makes sure the plants are being taken care of automatically than a gadget that cries out in anguish to remind us that we don’t know what we’re doing. But hey, everyone gets inspired in their own way.

13 thoughts on “Hearing Plants Giggle Is Just As Creepy As You Think

  1. I’m curious to know if the plant could learn to emit certain signals to a sensor that would trigger a certain amount water to be giben to the plant. Same with light. Would the plant be able to choose its own amount of water required? Is this beyond a plants capabilities?

    1. Plants can adjust for different evaporation rate by adjusting their stoma opening – pores over their surfaces for gas exchange. I would assume that they would reduce evaporation rates hence consumption in a dry spell.

    2. What a plant can’t do is change how it signals the world within it’s lifetime. That is, sorta, the primary function of neurons. But a plant could be selectively bred to do that. And it could, in theory if perhaps not practice, even be bred to only emit such signals when viable.

      Plants are basically animals, with bad muscles and really really strong instincts. ^_^ heheheheh

  2. I read once somewhere that certain plants will emit ultrasonic clicks as their capilliaries start to run dry when they run out of water in the soil.

    I wonder if this could be detected to activate some sort of ‘I’m thirsty!’ sound from a device.

  3. Humorous…, was thinking put a motion sensor so each plants sensor sounds the state they’re in upon passing by. Not sure if a post over stressed Super Thrive dose would help with the next watering… though can remind to do that also in a worse case sounding. Have like a clapper like or voice activated automated watering system if you didn’t feel like manually watering while you’re at it. :-|)

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