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Gadget has plants ‘talking’ December 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Gadgets.

Japanese romantics will have the chance to hear some truly flowery language with the help of a playful gadget purported to express the feelings of plants.

Through the voice of a small doll, the device shares what the plant is supposedly “thinking” when a person strokes it.

The Hanakotoba, or Communication Flower, consists of a small rod topped with a fairy figurine that can be put inside a potted plant or vase of water. When the owner touches the stem or leaves, a small electric current passes from the rod through a wire to a small doll.

Clad in a green vest and cone hat, the doll replies with one of 200 different phrases, from “What a beautiful day!” to the potentially uncomfortable “Do you have a boyfriend?”.

The gadget, which sells for about $45 in Japan, is the latest creation of Masahiko Kajita, who scored a smash hit in 2002 with Bowlingual, a dog collar said to interpret canine barking.

Mr Kajita says the Hanakotoba is meant to tap a female market. “I created translators for cats and dogs, which were a big success among men, so I was searching for a similar success among females,” he said. “And since women love flowers, I decided to work on them. “This toy doesn’t use a single dirty or aggressive word, unlike Bowlingual.”

But the plant can still become angry. If the device senses there is insufficient water, the doll says in a shrill voice: “Come on, what are you looking at? Give me more water!”.

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