Venus flytraps are triggered to snap shut when an insect tickles the tiny hairs inside its jaw-like leaves. Now, researchers have created a cyborg venus flytrap that closes when zapped with a tiny electrical signal. According to Nanyang Technological University scientists, the leaves function as long as a day after they are cut from a living plant. The trick is that once shut, the leaves take many hours to slowly reopen. From Science News:
Integrating soft, flexible plant material into robotics could aid in picking up fragile objects that would otherwise be damaged by clunky, rigid graspers, the researchers say. So, Li's team attached a piece of a flytrap to a robotic arm and used a smartphone app to control the trap. In experiments, the robotic grabber clutched a piece of wire one-half of a millimeter in diameter. And when not strapped to the robotic arm, the dismembered plant also caught a slowly moving 1-gram weight.
"An on-demand plant-based actuator created using conformable electrodes" (Nature Electronics)