RoboPlants: Turning Flora into Sun-Seeking Cyborgs

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RoboPlants: Turning Flora into Sun-Seeking Cyborgs

Friday April 21, 2017 Written by Ronan

Here’s a new word for you: FloraBorg. It means something that’s part plant, part machine – an environmentally friendly Terminator, if you will. (The replicants from Blade Runner might be a better fit: these things just want to live.)

A collaboration between artist Elizabeth Demaray (whose artificial crab shells we’ve covered before) and engineer Qingze Zou at Rutgers University, the project seeks to “facilitate the free movement and metabolic function of ordinary houseplants”. In other words, these things might be the solution for those of us who can’t keep a pot plant alive more than a few months.

Also known as IndaPlants, they work like this: wheels and a solar energy source are attached to a plant’s pot. Then the plant’s “brain” – the part that monitors its health and the environment around it – is fed into an attached computer, or “biocyber interface”. Once everything is synched up, the plant is then able to seek out water or sunlight on its own.

It’s pretty neat. Let’s just hope the plants remain happy with water and sunlight, and don’t try and overthrow humanity like all robots eventually do.