This robot is putting down roots. Recently at the Living Machines conference in London, researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology debuted a system of robotic roots that can grow and turn in response to stimuli in their environment, just like their live counterparts.
Watch it work:
Robotic roots could be used to monitor changes in the soil, with sensors to measure nitrate, pH, water, temperature, and even gravity. Creator Barbara Mazzolai says they could also be used as a medical device. "The ability to bend, grow at low pressure and with low friction while adapting to the surrounding environment could offer a new vision for medical tools," she told New Scientist. Imagine vaguely tentacle shaped sensors growing inside you during surgery. Bleck! But also, awesome.
My rule for popsci is, if the video and title dont make sense, i dont read the article.
this has been one of those times.
I couldn't tell the difference between the sprout and the machine.(NOT) How lame, I can't believe this stuff gets funded. I can't believe Popular Science reports it. I can't believe I read it.
@davek01521 I'm not sure why you thought you shouldn't be able to tell the difference between the plant and the machine. All the article said was that it grows LIKE a plant, and if that allows the machines to get sensors where we need them to be without a lot of disruption to the area's soil and plants then I'd say that's a good thing.
I'm not sure about monitoring my organs with it, but it does say "some day" so I can be open minded about that too.