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.
SHIFTboston is aiming to "plant" the prototype treepod by early 2012.