Cyborg botany : augmented plants as sensors, displays and actuators
Augmented plants as sensors, displays and actuators
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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Plants are photosynthetic eukaryotes with a billion years of evolutionary history. While primarily sessile, they have developed distinctive abilities to adapt to the environment. They are self-powered, self-fabricating, self-regenerating and active signal networks. They carry highly advanced systems to sense and respond to the environment. We strive for such sensing and responses in our electronics; self growing or self repairing abilities in our architecture; and being sustainable at scale in general. The industrial and technological thought process has mostly been devising artificial means or replicating natural systems synthetically. However, I propose a convergent view of technological evolution with our ecology where techno-plant hybrids are created. The approach is to formulate symbiotic associations and to place the technology in conjunction with the plant function(s). In this thesis, I go from the outside to inside the plants in conceiving such synergetic processes and present case studies of their implementation and analysis. I begin with a robot-plant hybrid where the robotic device adds mobility and is triggered with the plant's own signals. Next, lead (II) detection nanosensors are presented which reside inside the leaf of a plant and continuously sample through plant hydraulics. This is followed with a design study for plants with new conductive channels grown inside them and their subsequent use as inconspicuous motion sensors. I conclude with a symbiotic robot that lives on a sunflower plant and automatically trains or directs its growth with onboard lighting. The end result is an augmented-plant society where technology adds non-native functions or redirects the natural processes..
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 94-98).
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences ()