Lee Speigel - It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. Or is it? If you're not getting enough air, you might want to spend time sitting under a newly designed artificial tree that converts carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen.
In the modern world of urban pollution, we can't seem to grow enough trees to naturally convert carbon dioxide into life-sustaining air -- the process of photosynthesis -- until now.
Researchers at New York's Columbia University, working with Influx Studio in Paris, have designed a faux or artificial tree. It's basically a machine fashioned to resemble a dragon blood tree, complete with wide branches and umbrellalike tops that are used as support for the large solar panels that will power the tree, according to PhysOrg.com.
This idea of faux trees has taken root in Massachusetts with an urban tree competition called Boston Treepods 2011. Sponsored by the SHIFTboston organization, teams of designers have developed proposals for synthetic urban trees that would essentially do what real trees do -- convert carbon dioxide into oxygen -- but without the need to be planted in soil or nourished by water.
"Influx Studio in Paris is currently pulling together the specifications and obtaining necesssary approval on specific patenting, and it should be finished by the end of April," Kim Poliquin, director of SHIFTboston, told AOL News in an e-mail.
"Following finalization of documents and approval in early May, SHIFTboston will put the Boston Treepod out to bid. We are hoping to obtain competitive pricing to produce the initial prototype," she added.
Composed of recycled plastic bottles, the treepods utilize a carbon dioxide-removal technique called "humidity swing" that helps clean the air.
These air-filtering faux trees look like giant futuristic urban lamps that light up at night in multiple colors. They can also generate energy via solar panels as well as kinetic energy created by young and old sitting on interactive seesaws attached to the base of the trees.
Purists might object to the idea of creating artificial trees, saying that all we need to do is plant more trees. At least these treepods would be up and running, so to speak, long before new trees can provide the same amount of oxygen to a geographic location.
via Need More Air? Artificial Trees to Convert Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen.