Elowan is a "plant-robot hybrid" that uses its own bio-electromechanical signaling to drive itself around toward light sources. From an explanation by researcher Harpreet Sareen and his colleagues at the MIT Media Lab:
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.
Elowan: A plant-robot hybrid
My buddy Ken Goldberg, a UC Berkeley professor of robotics, his 10-year-old daughter Blooma, and science communicator Ashley Chase wrote a delightful children’s book called How to Train Your Robot! Illustrated by Dave Clegg, the story, about a fourth grade robotics club, is a fun and understandable introduction to how deep learning can help robots […]
Shimon, the robotic maestro from Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, is releasing an album and going on tour. To write lyrics, the robot employs deep learning combined with semantic knowledge and rhyme and rhythm. Shimon has also had a complete facelift giving it a much more expressive mug for singing. In IEEE Spectrum, Evan […]
IEEE Spectrum asked pioneering roboticist Rodney Brooks, co-founder of iRobot and former head of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the eternal engineering question: “What is a robot?” Inspired by computational neuroscientist Warren McCulloch who enjoyed writing sonnets, Brooks responded to the query in iambic pentameter. Here’s the beginning: What Is a Robot? By […]
Can’t sit still during the pandemic? You’re not alone. Many folks are using their social distancing time to decompress and zone out on Tiger King, some even pushing back against the idea of being productive. But plenty of others find themselves bored, restless, and in need of projects and goals, somewhere to direct their energy. […]
Even if you don’t miss much else about the office right now, there’s a good chance your home laptop is making you nostalgic for the added efficiency of that pair of monitors on your desk at work to spread out your workflow. There’s no telling how long the new normal may continue to be the […]
If you’re looking to become a software engineer or it’s an idea you’ve tossed around half-seriously, there may be no better time than now to take the leap. It’s one of the fastest-growing, most in-demand roles already. And in the midst of the pandemic, between the extra hours you likely have in your day, and […]