As we try to find the answer to climate change, each eco-innovation may spur even more questions about their overall effects.

Could the noise from wind turbines cause cancer? (Science says no.)

Could the sound from an electric car stimulate plant growth, regenerating the environment we’ve helped destroy? Science says . . . maybe? Or at least, that’s the hope of Ayax Toyota.

Within the next two years, the U.S. and Europe will require electric cars to emit a noise in order to warn pedestrians of their approach, or else these quiet vehicles can take pedestrians and bikers by surprise.

Instead of just installing a sound that mimics non-electric vehicles, Ayax, an independent, Uruguay-based manufacturer and distributor of Toyota vehicles, has partnered with digital innovation agency The Electric Factory, a sound designer and a “smart cities expert,” to create an audio that they say could go further to benefit the environment.
乌拉圭的丰田汽车独立制造商和经销商Ayax和数字创新机构The Electric Factory公司合作,这家公司设计声音,也是“智能城市专家”。他们不是仅仅安装模仿非电动汽车的声音,而是要创造出一种他们认为能进一步保护环境的声音。

图片来源:Ayax Toyota

Called the HY Project (short for “harmony”), the sound is inspired by several amusing studies that have looked into the effects of audio frequencies on plants.

In one out of India, researchers placed mung bean plants in soundproof chambers, one of which remained silent, another which had ancient chants piped in, and a third which scolded the beans with “discouraging words.”

The chanted-to plants saw the “maximum elongation of the shoot,” showing, the scientists claim, that the mung beans picked up the audio vibrations.

In another, South Korea researchers compared different types of plants’ responses to a variety of frequencies and magnitudes, noting reactions like root-tip bending, an increase in the expression of “defense-related genes,” and a higher yield for crops from cotton to rice to tomatoes.

They concluded though sound may be a “potential new trigger” for plant protection, there are still “some major concerns about the use of sound treatment in plant science,” including the fact that we still don’t know just how plants perceive sound.