Dutch inventive artist Daan Roosegaarde is famous for his highly innovative design, exploring the relation between people, technology and nature. One of his latest project is the creation of luminous trees inspired by animals able to generate their own light, such as jellyfish and fireflies.
He teamed up with the State University of New York and the synthetic biology start-up Bioglow to explore the possibilities with plants that glow in the dark. The first small luminated plant is a fact, as you can see in the video. And Roosegaarde is working towards creating a large tree, that could be used as streetlight. Due the very strict European regulation around genetically modified plants, Roosegaarde had to receive the the luminated plant in the USA.
Roosegaarde is not the first one to work on a project like this, and he will not certainly be the last. Hopefully our streets will be enlightened by trees instead of streetlights soon enough, because like Roosegaarde says: "I mean, come on, it will be incredibly fascinating to have these energy-neutral but at the same time incredibly poetic landscapes."
Watch the video here
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I saw this first mooted in the science museum in Shanghai in 2006. Very different attitudes to technology than postmodern Europe, that I would suspect would rapidly reject genetically modified trees in parks...