A tweeting tree has been presented at the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Sony Ericsson says that their tree that tweets is a harbinger of the Internet of Things to come.
“Our Twittering Tree senses changes in the electromagnetic field around it as people pass, and sends Tweets that reflect its mood directly to its Twitter account, ConnectedTree” – says Sony Ericsson. “This tree also reacts to people’s presence and movements by playing music, speaking and turning on and off lights.”
The tweeting tree is attached to a device that allows it to detect motion; the motion data is processed, reflecting the tree's reaction to people in the vicinity.
(Sony Ericsson's tweeting tree)
Fans of James Blish's Hugo award-winning 1959 novel A Case of Conscience recall the message tree used by the inhabitants of the planet Lithia, which had very few metals in its crust and whose atmosphere limited the development of electronics.
If the night were to turn out to be especially windy, there would doubtless be many voices coming and going to the Message Tree. It loomed ahead of him now, a Sequoialike giant...
As the winds came and went... the tree nodded and swayed. With every movement, the tree's root system ... tugged and distorted the buried crystalline cliff upon which the city had been founded. At every such pressure, the buried cliff responded with a vast heart-pulse of radio waves - a pulse detectable not only all over Lithia, but far out into space as well.
(Read more about the message tree)
This has to be the cleverest use of the piezoelectric effect in an sf story!