Normally, plants are thought of as part of the ancient world. The purpose of a walk through nature is often thought of as a way to reconnect with the comfort of where we came from, a simpler place free from the high-tech world we’ve become all too accustomed to.
But what if plants were actually a key to the future of science and technology? What if they held the some of the answers we’ve all been waiting for. If an RCA graduate named Julian Melchiorri has his way mimicking the biological processes of plants could help to produce unimaginable advances in human scientific discovery.
According to an article at psfk and a corresponding video starring Melchiorri, he has produced an invention he calls the Silk Leaf. No, we’re not talking about the artificial plants currently sprucing up your home or office. We’re talking about the first manmade biological leaf. More importantly, Melchiorri has produced the first manmade material that can perform photosynthesis.
The Silk Leaf is made with real plant cell chloroplasts which, when in contact with water and light, produce oxygen just like a real plant. The key, says Melchiorri, is the silk protein that the chloroplasts are suspended in, which acts as a good stabilizer of organic molecules.
Melchiorri stayed true to nature’s form, designing the Silk Leaf to have the same shape and color as a real leaf. This means the Silk Leaf is also pretty attractive, and Melchiorri has even made light fixtures using them.
So what could a silly, little artificial leaf actually do for us humans?
For one, it could potentially revolutionize space travel. Since plants can’t grow in zero gravity, we’ve had a hard time thinking of ways to produce enough oxygen for long trips through space. With the help of a little onboard artificial light, something like the Silk Leaf could act as a lasting source of oxygen, helping us to take longer journeys and travel much greater distances.
Something like the Silk Leaf could also play a role in saving the planet. Melchiorri imagines towering skyscrapers with Silk Leaves attached for the production of oxygen. He also discusses the general health benefits that we experience when living in cleaner, more oxygen-rich air.
It’s amazing what the future could hold, but for now, we’re left to revel in the company of the original photosynthetic oxygen producers that started it all. Enhance your living or working space and reconnect with the power of plants by contacting Foliage Design Systems New Jersey today.