By George Dvorsky
During the impending robopocalypse, humanity will have to ward off freakishly agile androids, robotic 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.