Remember the scene from Iron Man 3, where Maya Hansen, the brains behind Extremis, actually had one of her plants blow up after being tampered with by Tony Stark’s bodyguard? Something like that might actually happen in the future with the latest developments from the world of nanotechnology, where ordinary looking shrubbery could be transformed into supercharged energy producers or sensors for explosives.
This is made possible thanks to a team of MIT researchers who intends to make plants all the more useful through an augmentation process, where they have been integrated with nanomaterials in order to elevate them to a place where their energy production is enhanced, while enjoying completely new functions including the ability to keep track of environmental pollutants.
Not only that, this artificial augmentation will also be able to boost the plants’ ability to capture light energy by 30 percent thanks to the embedded carbon nanotubes in the chloroplast, the plant organelle where photosynthesis happens. A different kind of carbon nanotube is also used in the modified plants in order to detect the nitric oxide gas. Imagine a future where plants have the ability to generate enough electricity to power your humble abode. Not quite the regenerative capability of the fictional Extremis, but it’ll do for now. [Press Release]