Feel like you’re in a losing (electrical) battle with your home, forever changing lightbulbs? New findings from MIT will brighten your day.
In the study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists put plants in a solution with an enzyme called luciferase—the same one that makes fireflies light up. After, the plants were put under high pressure so the nanoparticles could enter the leaves’ pores, causing them to emit light for about four hours.
“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp—a lamp that you don’t have to plug in,” lead study author Michael Strano said in a press release. “The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.”
With time, researchers hope to create a light-emitting spray paint to provide “low-intensity” indoor lighting or turn trees into self-powered streetlights, the researchers say.