Sep 30, 2004

Reminiscent of Alice's adventures

In college a friend remarked once, after an all-nighter or vision quest or some such thing, that it would be great if trees could serve as natural audio speakers. I wasn't exactly sure what he meant at the time, and later neither was he.

But someone else apparently had a similar idea. Because now - on a somewhat smaller scale - the dream has become reality.

MDN reports:
The therapeutic power of flowers takes on new meaning with a Japanese gadget that turns plants into audio speakers, making the petals and leaves tremble with good vibrations.

Called Ka-on, which means "flower sound" in Japanese, the machine consists of a donut-shaped magnet and coil at the base of a vase that hooks up to a CD player, stereo or TV.

Masumi Gotoh, president of Japanese telecommunications-equipment company Let's Corp., explains about the company's new invention. (image and text from MDN)

Let's Corp., the Nagoya-based telcom equipment company that developed and manufactures the Ka-on, offers no relevant English and little background science regarding the product on their website (Japanese). But they do show pictures of the various models (LF-511, etc., ranging from $46 to $460) and provide brief advice on how to achieve the desired results. They also request Ka-on users to recommend any plants that yield particularly good sound.

In addition to the visual aesthetic, Ka-on is reported to provide benefits such as a "more natural" ambient 360-degree sound, as well as providing longer life for cut flowers and serving as an insect deterrent. "The plant is happy listening to music," says Let's president Masumi Gotoh.

The Ka-on is also available in speaker phone models.

Ka-on speaker phone (from Let's website)


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