- Title: JAPAN: Blogging plant greats customers at Japanese cafe
- Date: 23rd October 2008
- Summary: LAPTOP COMPUTER SHOWING PLANT'S BLOG CLOSE UP OF BLOG
- Embargoed: 7th November 2008 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Environment / Natural World,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA4GVYCZR2ID0CL4Z4VJH61IPCP
- Story Text: A plant sitting in a Japanese cafe blogs her feelings every day with the help of technology.
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-inch) potted plant on a cafe counter in Kamakura, near Tokyo, blogs every day with the help of a sensor that measures bio-electric signals and a computer algorithm that translates them into Japanese.
"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 last week.
The plant, a hoya kerrii, is commonly called a "sweetheart plant" because of it leaf shape.
Keio University engineer Satoshi Kuribayashi, who has been studying how to communicate with plants, helped the plant at Bowls Cafe express herself.
"I believe plants have the ability to 'feel' things, and sometimes they are even more sensitive than we humans are to particular things, such as light," said Kuribayashi.
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 (http://plant.bowls-cafe.jp/index.php).
The latest entry reads: "It was cloudy today. It was a cold day."
Kuribayashi said he hopes that in the future, the blog will reflect even more accurately of Midori-san's feelings.
"I've heard that plants have emotions, and I now believe they do have some kind of consciousness," said Mikiko Yamada, 32, a customer at the cafe.
Blogging with computers and mobile phones is popular in Japan, which had the greatest number of blog posts by language at 37 percent, followed by English and Chinese posts, a study from blog search engine Technocrati in 2007 showed.
A recent study by the Universities of Oxford and Oviedo found that Japan has the best performing broadband Internet connections in the world.
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