Houseplant controls machete with robotic arm

An inventor has created a machete-wielding robotic arm that is controlled by signals generated by a living plant.The first-of-its-kind installation, dubbed the ‘Plant Machete’, works by reading electrical noises from a common philodendron houseplant through sensors attached to its leaves.These signals are then translated into real-time motion for the arm, allowing it to jab, slice and swing the weapon in its grip.Designer David Bowen set up the Plant Machete as a demonstration of how a plant can act as a “brain” for a robot, allowing it to interact with the world in a way that would have been technologically impossible...
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Caltech’s Breakthrough New Nanophotonic Chip “Squeezes” More Out of Light

Electronic computing and communications have advanced significantly since the days of radio telegraphy and vacuum tubes. In fact, consumer devices now contain levels of processing power and memory that would be unimaginable just a few decades ago. But as computing and information processing microdevices get ever smaller and more powerful,...
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AI boosts usability of paper-making waste product

In a new and exciting collaboration with the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, researchers in the CEST group have published a study demonstrating how artificial intelligence (AI) can boost the production of renewable biomaterials. Their publication focuses on the extraction of lignin, an organic polymer that together with cellulose makes...

Multi-organ chip detects dangerous nanoparticles

What happens when we breathe in nanoparticles emitted by, for example, a laser printer? Could these nanoparticles damage the respiratory tract or perhaps even other organs? To answer these questions, Fraunhofer researchers are developing the "NanoCube" exposure device. The Nanocube's integrated multi-organ chip set up in the laboratory of the...

Watch A Houseplant Control A Machete-Wielding Robotic Arm, For Science

In case you weren’t aware, plants can control robots now. Like anything else with nerves, plants produce tiny electrical signals, and intricate sensors can capture these and turn them into inputs. Now, with a bit of imagination, you could see how the leafy cyborg uprising could begin. Looking to...

Bioluminescent Robots Use Plankton To Glow in the Dark

Scientists created a soft robot filled with algae that sparkles, and they plan to use it to explore the dark depths of the ocean. The bioluminescent plankton, called a dinoflagellate, glows bright turquoise when disturbed. When something squishes, stretches, twists, or bends the elastic container, it glows in the dark. This means a soft bioluminescent robot with no electronics could light the way to new undersea discoveries.

I used generative AI to create pictures of painting robots, but I’m not the artist — humanity is

In the world of AI, two remarkable technologies have made major strides over the last 18 months. One is called Large Language Models (LLMs), which enables AI systems to generate convincing essays and hold convincing conversations, and even write successful computer code, all with little or no human supervision. The second is called Generative Art, which enables automated software to create unique images and artwork from simple text prompts. Both are rooted in similar AI technology and have wowed the world with extremely impressive results.

Manufacturing microscopic octopuses with a 3D printer

Although just cute little creatures at first glance, the microscopic geckos and octopuses fabricated by 3D laser printing in the molecular engineering labs at Heidelberg University could open up new opportunities in fields such as microrobotics or biomedicine. The printed microstructures are made from novel materials—known as smart polymers—whose size...