We usually think of plants as vegetables or home decoration, but Harpreet Sareen, an MIT Media Lab researcher, developed a plant-robot hybrid that moves on its own in response to the changes happening in its environment. Elowan is a houseplant, but it is much more than that. Sareen has attached electrodes to its stems, leaves, and ground. The plant’s bioelectrochemical signals are sent to the robot by those electrodes, and this way the plant can drive itself in the direction of the light. Elowan is opening up a new world of possibilities, where non-human living organisms could be augmented to create new interactive devices that are organic instead of entirely artificial.
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