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posted by martyb on Friday December 07 2018, @02:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the sieze-the-light dept.

MIT researchers create a robot houseplant that moves on its own

Meet Elowan, a "cybernetic lifeform" that connects a houseplant with a machine that responds to its basic need for light (and is presumably named after the sentient plant creatures in Starflight 3). When a regular plant needs light, it fires off internal electrical signals that cause it to bend and grow towards it. When Elowan needs light, these internal electrical signals are interpreted by a machine that then simply wheels the plant towards the light. The plant can essentially move itself around because it needs to.

"Plants have natural bioelectrochemical signals inside them," explains Harpeet Sareen, assistant professor at Parsons School of Design. "They get excited in response to environmental conditions and conduct these signals between tissues and organs. Such electrical signals are produced in response to changes in light, gravity, mechanical stimulation, temperature, wounding, and more. They are electrically active systems readily occurring in nature."

Add self-watering and we're good to go.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by DECbot on Friday December 07 2018, @03:28AM (5 children)

    by DECbot (832) on Friday December 07 2018, @03:28AM (#771014) Journal

    I'd like to welcome our new cybernetic plant overloads. I'm sure their young would be delicious in a salad, their elders great lumber, and the middle-aged... I guess there's still some who prefer paper.

    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Friday December 07 2018, @04:03AM (4 children)

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 07 2018, @04:03AM (#771024) Journal

    Meanwhile I'm thinking that coming home from work each day to find the plant that should be in the corner of the room crawling towards the middle of the room would get really old, really quick.

    Here's a short list of other things no-one actually wants.

    Socks that randomly separate after being put away into a drawer.
    Cars that move away from the spot you parked them in without telling anyone.
    Fridges that dispose of random items in the middle of the night.
    Showers that turn the water off one tap at a time randomly and without interaction.

    Oh, and newest to the list, plants that move their pot away from where I put them in the room.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @05:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @05:22AM (#771038)

      Strong independent plant don't need no man to tell it where to sit.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @07:14AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @07:14AM (#771065)

      They are not all bad ideas.
      How about a car that automatically finds the nearest charger and plugs in? You can call it back when you need it. How about a fridge that gets rid of spoiled food?

      • (Score: 2) by Hyper on Friday December 07 2018, @09:21AM (1 child)

        by Hyper (1525) on Friday December 07 2018, @09:21AM (#771085) Journal

        How long until it tries to get off the spoiled humans?