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Cybernetic Houseplant Can Move Itself Towards Light Sources

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-12-06 15:14:39
Science

MIT researchers create a robot houseplant that moves on its own [engadget.com]

Meet Elowan, a "cybernetic [engadget.com] 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 [engadget.com]. 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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