SCIENTISTS UNVEIL THE WORLD’S FIRST CYBORG PLANT

The concept of “green energy” got a whole lot more literal this week, when scientists announced they’d successfully turned living roses into electronic circuits. That’s right—cyborg flowers are now a thing. Despite how it sounds, the aim isn’t to create a race of leafy green borg that will one day rise up and enslave their human masters. Instead, think smart plants that can sense and display environmental changes, or crops whose growth can be regulated at the flick of a switch. Or plant-based fuel cells that convert the photosynthetic sugars into electricity. The very first electronic plant, developed by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden and described this week in Science Advances, is a step toward any one of those applications and many more. “As far as we know, there are no previously published research results regarding electronics produced in plants,” said study lead study author Magnus Berggren in a statement. “No one’s done this before.” Here’s how it’s done: first, the the researchers introduce a synthetic polymer called PEDOT-S into the rose through its stem. The plant sucks up the polymer using the same vascular system (xylem) that transports water. Once inside xylem channels, the polymer self-assembles into an “wire” that conducts electrical signals, while still allowing water and nutrients to move around. By connecting these wires with naturally-occurring electrolytes in the plant’s tissue, the researchers are able to create an electrochemical transistor, as well as a digital logic gate, a basic component of computer systems ( via artbell.com )  

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