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MIT researchers create a robot houseplant that moves on its own



Meet Elowan, a "cybernetic life form" that connects a houseplant with a machine that responds to its basic need for light (and is presumably named after the sentient plant creatures in Starflight 3 ). Når en vanlig plantebehov lyser, det fires av interne elektriske signaler som får det til å bøye og vokse mot det. When Elowan needs light, these internal electrical signals are interpreted by a machine that then simply rolls the plant towards the light.

"Plants have natural bioelectrochemical signals inside them," explains Harpeet Sareen, assistant professor at Parsons School of Design. "They get excited in response to environmental conditions and conduct these signals between tissues and organs. Such electrical signals are produced in response to changes in light, gravity, mechanical stimulation, temperature, wounding, and more. They are electrically active systems readily occurring in nature. "

So that's the how . Why . The Little Shop of Horrors or The Day of the Triffids may have some questions about the why . As Sareen explains, the project was designed to explore the deep integration of technology with nature. "Når vi opretter interaktive enheder, er der to primære komponenter til det:" Sensing "i bredeste forstand, som brugeren ønsker at gøre og reagerer / viser et output som en tilbagemelding. Normalt skaber vi kunstige elektronik til at gøre sådanne funktioner for os, men plants have inherently such capabilities. They can sense and they can display – they are already an interface. "

What's more, Sareen continues, is that plants are self-powered, self-regenerating and self-fabricating organisms. "In short, plants might be the best kind of 'electronics' we have, something we can only strive to get into the artificial world. Much of our thinking around interfaces / interactive devices has spun up from industrial way of thinking of having to men hvis naturen har det samme som for sensing (signaler i planter), reaktion (plant bevægelse, farveændring, bladåbning / lukning, vækst og så videre), så hvorfor ikke tap i disse kapaciteter af what nature does best. "

Sareen believes this Avatar like technology could form the future of interaction. Men det er fortsatt meget tidlige dage for arbejdet. Next to the agenda is turning the project into a marketable tinkering kit, "so people start to understand nature much more than what they are used to," says Sareen – and maybe then give a second thought to the functional life forms they will end up turfing in the trash the next time they forget to water their plants.


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