The Loh Down On Science

Babbage Cabbage

A colorful - and very green - new way to keep tabs on your world.

What time is it? Check the. . . cabbage?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

and with a colorful new way to keep tabs on your world.

Adrian Cheok of National University of Singapore has created an "interactive biological media." It's named "Babbage Cabbage" after 19th century Charles Babbage, considered the father of computing.

Brassica oleracea - or red cabbage-- grows in a rainbow of colors, depending on soil conditions.

A Babbage Cabbage patch of red cabbage is tended by a computer. Users program the computer to tinker with the soil P-H based on data input. So plants will change their hue in response to, say, air quality, or the success of a stock portfolio.

Red means buy! Green means sell! One stroll through the garden tells all.

Cheok envisions companies with a cabbage display in their lobby, programmed to track their own carbon footprint or financial health.

Future systems could feature schools of fish, ant farms -- or maybe Cabbage Patch dolls! With color-changing diapers and matching blankies! To. . . track your stocks. And mutual funds. Could happen.


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