S’porean Scientists Use Technology to Communicate With & Control “Robo-Plants”


It appears that the technological era is truly and genuinely upon us.

How else could you possibly explain the never-ending series of robot entities in this year alone?

After all, we have had robot ‘humans‘.

Robot ‘cleaners‘.

Robot ‘dogs‘.

And now, it’s time to bring it a little closer to home:


S’porean Scientists Use Technology to Communicate With & Control “Robo-Plants”

According to TODAYonlinescientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have successfully established communication with greenery.

And no, it’s not a case of ‘imaginary friends’ going on here.

According to the news report, researchers in Singapore have managed to link up plants to special electrodes. And the results?

Venus flytraps that can be controlled via remote, and crops that can ‘tell’ you when they’re ‘sick’.

Talk about technological advancements.

Venus Flytrap

Incredible as it sounds, scientists have discovered a way to trigger the Flytrap’s infamous jaw-shutting motion, all with the push of a button.

They also managed to get one of its jaws together with a robotic arm, thus forming a contraption that can potentially catch a more fragile object

Technology is said to be in its early stages, and challenges, such as getting the flytrap’s jaws to open up, are still present.

Nevertheless, scientists have expressed positivity that the technology could lead to advanced “plant-based” robots, and even hybrid systems.


“These kinds of nature robots can be interfaced with other artificial robots (to make) hybrid systems,” Dr Chen Xiaodong, the lead author of a study on the research at NTU, told AFP.

‘Treating’ Plants

Apparently, the technology is also able to detect plant-transmitted signals.

This could mean the detection of certain problems, even at the early stages of development.

“By monitoring the plants’ electrical signals, we may be able to detect possible distress signals and abnormalities,” said Dr Chen.

“Farmers may find out when a disease is in progress, even before full-blown symptoms appear on the crops.”


It could also prove useful in the face of climate change.

Not The First

Though innovative, such research is not exactly unheard of.

Back in 2016, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology team managed to convert spinach leaves into email-sending sensors, that activate upon detection of explosive materials (in groundwater).

Somehow, they turned Popeye’s favourite snack into proficient bomb detectors.

That, folks, is how you tell a new age of technology apart from the old one.

Meanwhile, other robotic aspects in Singapore include the likes of cleaning robots.


They were also designated the tasks of sending parcels and groceries, as well as food deliveries.

In addition, they have been deployed for false ceiling inspections, mapping of mosquitoes and, curiously, the turn-away of pigeons and mynahs.

And over in China, a Tech company has come up with the mechanical version of a canine: AlphaDog.

Apart from behaving really similarly to a real dog, they are also absent of any major toilet incidents, and can even move at a speed of almost 15 kilometres per hour.

Featured Image: Robert Anaya Jr/ Shutterstock.com