Living Plant Controls Machete With Robotic Arm

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

6 Oct 2022

As if we couldn’t live in crazier times, now common houseplants are wielding machetes with the help of robotic arms.

The installation, fittingly titled ‘Plant machette’, enabled a humble philodendron plant acting as the robots ‘brain’interprets the “electrical noises found in a live philodendron.” 

Artist David Bowen explained, that the arm receives signals from EEG biosensors placed on the plant’s leaves which are then mapped to the arm’s motor functions, allowing the plant to control the knife’s movements.

In the viral video, Bowen said: “The system uses an open source micro-controller connected to the plant to read varying resistance signals across the plant’s leaves,”

“Using custom software, these signals are mapped in real-time to the movements of the joints of the industrial robot holding a machete. In this way, the movements of the machete are determined based on input from the plant.”

Here’s hoping this technology remains more art showpiece than serious innovation.