Cyborg houseplant can drive itself toward the light it craves

By George Dvorsky

During the impending robopocalypse, humanity will have to ward off freakishly agile androidsrobotic dogs, whatever the hell this is, and, as new research from MIT suggests, quasi-autonomous, mobile robot-plant hybrids.

Introducing Elowan, a robot-plant hybrid designed by Harpreet Sareen and Pattie Maes, both from MIT Media Lab. The system is a true cybernetic organism, though not the kind we’re accustomed to seeing; instead of merging human with machine, these researchers have leveraged the internal electrical signals produced by plants to control the actions of a two-wheeled robotic platform. In tests, Elowan was able to move toward a light source—an action triggered by the plant itself.

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