Watching a plant grow and develop roots can be as tedious as ... watching a plant grow. But seeing plant development as it unfolds can expose just what happens to a genetically modified organism, and how certain gene expressions can make plants do certain things. Robotic cameras and machine-vision algorithms are making the process easier.
In literature and folklore (and video games, sometimes), the blue rose signifies the impossible, or mystery, or the unquenchable. It's not much of a leap, really; roses are ubiquitous, but due to a genetic barrier, a blue rose is naturally impossible. Of course, there's no particular reason to do what that meddling bully nature wants us to do, so a Japanese company has genetically modified a rose to create...well, it's not quite blue, but it's certainly closer than any previous effort.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.