Elowan is a cybernetic lifeform, a plant in direct dialogue with a machine. Using its own internal electrical signals, the plant is interfaced with a robotic extension that drives it toward light.
Plants are electrically active systems. They get bio-electrochemically excited 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 other environmental conditions.
The enduring evolutionary processes change the traits of an organism based on its fitness in the environment. In recent history, humans domesticated certain plants, selecting the desired species based on specific traits. A few became house plants, while others were made fit for agricultural practice. From natural habitats to micro-climates, the environments for these plants have significantly altered. As humans, we rely on technological augmentations to tune our fitness to the environment. However, the acceleration of evolution through technology needs to move from a human-centric to a holistic, nature-centric view.
Elowan is an attempt to demonstrate what augmentation of nature could mean. Elowan’s robotic base is a new symbiotic association with a plant. The agency of movement rests with the plant based on its own bio-electrochemical signals, the language interfaced here with the artificial world.
These in turn trigger physiological variations such as elongation growth, respiration, and moisture absorption. In this experimental setup, electrodes are inserted into the regions of interest (stems and ground, leaf and ground). The weak signals are then amplified and sent to the robot to trigger movements to respective directions.
Such symbiotic interplay with the artificial could be extended further with exogenous extensions that provide nutrition, growth frameworks, and new defense mechanisms.
About Cyborg Botany
Cyborg Botany is a new, convergent view of interaction design in nature. Our primary means of sensing and display interactions in the environment are through our artificial electronics. However, there are a plethora of such capabilities that already exist in nature. Plants, for example, are active signal networks that are self-powered, self-fabricating, and self-regenerating systems at scale. They have the best kind of capabilities that an electronic device could carry. Instead of building completely discrete systems, the new paradigm points toward using the capabilities that exist in plants (and nature at large) and creating hybrids with our digital world.
Elowan, the robot plant hybrid, is one in a series of such of plant-electronic hybrid experiments.
Learn more: Elowan: A plant-robot hybrid
The Latest on: Cyborg botany
via Google News
The Latest on: Cyborg botany
- MIT's cyborg plant can drive itself into the light on December 5, 2018 at 10:58 pm
or move themselves out of harm's way if they get too hot. The team says that Elowan, which can be seen in action in the video below, is just one in a series of Cyborg Botany experiments. […]
- Cyborg Houseplant Can Drive Itself Toward the Light It Craves on December 5, 2018 at 2:04 pm
This active signal network, as the new experiment in “cyborg botany” shows, can also be used to augment a plant’s natural capabilities. In this case, the movement of the plant is based on its internal ... […]
- Five artists reimagine their future worlds at GRACE, through Sept.15 on August 30, 2018 at 8:39 am
In Guardiola’s backstory, a Cyborg space-pirate named Madame VEGA discovers and ... Guardiola’s installation—which is buttressed by her background in botany and taxidermy and research into biomes, see... […]
- Spring art, open studios: 35 free things to do this weekend on March 23, 2018 at 3:08 am
To celebrate, Light Gray gallery is hosting four exhibitions showcasing the beauty of botany, the peacefulness of nature walks, and all the delightful edibles—herbs, berries, mushrooms—to be found gro... […]
- The Most Important Idea about the Universe on March 7, 2017 at 6:05 am
With evolution, Darwin collected copious results from zoology, botany, geology and astronomy to show that there was an “order in the rocks”, that living forms varied across the geological ages in syst... […]
- Cyber-Ecology on December 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm
conduct electricity? The worlds of botany and consumer electronics don't typically…www.newscientist.com The researchers soaked a garden rose, with its roots and leaves removed, in a solution of PEDOT. ... […]
- My Application to Become an Astronaut on NASA's First Mission to Mars on December 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm
My enthusiasm for astronaut work will make me a valuable member of the Mars crew. Like Matt Damon, I’ve been dabbling in botany; the yucca plant in my living room is not yet dead. I very much enjoy ea... […]
- Meet the Newest Cyborg, A Remote-Controlled Cockroach on September 11, 2012 at 10:48 am
80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics. […]
- Cyborg Central: Researchers Combine Electronics with Synthetic Tissue on September 1, 2012 at 3:00 am
But why grow boring old biological materials when you can create cyborg ones? In a new paper published in Nature Materials, researchers describe how to make synthetic tissues that integrate electronic... […]
via Bing News