2019 Kia Niro EV first drive review: Battery-operated Bolt battler – Roadshow
December 4, 2018
Universal Robots Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary of Selling the World’s First Commercially Viable Collaborative Robot
December 5, 2018
Show all

This Plant Is Driving Its Own Robot

A robot that can detect a plant’s electrochemical signals goes where the plant wants it to go

Cybernetics usually refers to humans enhancing themselves with robotic parts. Sometimes, we heard about animal-robot cyborgs, or insect-robot cyborgs. It’s not all that often that we hear about plant-robot cyborgs, because what’s a plant going to do with a robot, right? But you could argue that plants have the most to gain from robotic enhancements, because otherwise (with a few totally cool exceptions) plants aren’t capable of mobility or manipulation at all.

It’s straightforward to see how mobility and manipulation could be useful for plants, but the real question is, How do you get a plant to tell its robotic parts what to do? At the MIT Media Lab, Harpreet Sareen is trying to figure this out, and Elowan the mobile cybernetic plant is just the first in “a series of plant-electronic hybrid experiments.”