Forget the Pixel 4, a London fern has taken the first plant-powered selfie

A maidenfair fern named Pete is highlighting natural beauty by taking the first ever selfies powered by a plant, no filter required. 

The selfie, which is apart of the ZSL London Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit and was unveiled by Zoological Society of London today, is powered entirely by microbial cells fueled by the plant itself. While Pete certainly aren’t as sharp as those on the dual-sensor Google Pixel 4, the pics are impressive considering they were powered by a plant.

“After spending the summer growing in strength, Pete – a maidenhair fern whose delicate leaves and shiny stalks are clearly visible in the images – has now begun taking his own selfies at an astonishing rate”, revealed proud plant parent the ZSL in a blog post shared this afternoon.

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Scientists didn’t have to genetically modify Pete to get him snapping pics. Plants deposit biomatter naturally as they grow, explained the ZSL. This biomatter feeds the natural bacteria in the soil below, creating energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and eventually used to power conservation tools remotely.

Pete – who primarily thrives in the shade – is capable of emitting low-levels of energy and adjusting his position where other natural power sources such as solar panels often fall short. This energy can then be harnessed by AI company Xnor.ai to power a sensor that works around the clock to take the portrait-mode rivaling pics.

Read our review of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

London’s Zoological Society hope that the tech will be used to power sensors in inhospitable and remote rainforest locations to record important data from temperature and humidity to plant growth. This data can then be used to better understand and help in the fights against climate change and habitat loss.

Now we’re just waiting for the first plant-powered slofie.

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