6 Million Dollar Plant: World’s First Electronic “Cyborg Rose” Is Here


cyborg-rose-planttShort Bytes: Scientists at Linköping University in Sweden have come up with the world’s first cyborg rose plant by using a  synthetic polymer- PEDOT-S:H. The leaves could actually light up and change colors like an electronic display. Scientists are also planning to add more features like indicators for amount of nitrogen or phosphor present in the plant or ideal time for blooming.

When we come across the word “cyborg “, plants are the last thing that most of us could think of, isn’t it so? Well, Scientists at Linköping University in Sweden might as well make us give it second thoughts as they have come up with the first electronic rose in a lab.

So, what is their success story? Let’s know more about it.

Almost a decade of extreme patience, hard work, and perseverance goes into this. After trying over a dozen of different polymers which failed miserably by either poisoning the plant, clogging the xylem, or both, they came up with a synthetic polymer- PEDOT-S:H.

cyborg rose making

The main idea was to introduce conductive polymers into the plant’s system. As the diagram suggests, rose stems were cut and then placed in a PEDOT-S:H solution, thus creating a thin film inside the xylem. This eventually led to the formation of a solid wire as long as 10 cm, thus working as a basic transistor. The xylem could also continue to absorb water and other nutrients normally. PEDOT has also been introduced in rose leaves. And the best part? The leaves could actually light up and change colors like an electronic display!

Wonderful, ain’t it?

Lead researcher Magnus Berggren says :

“Now we can really start talking about ‘power plants’ — we can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll, produce green antennas, or produce new materials. Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plants’ own very advanced, unique systems”

But then, genetic engineering has been doing the same past decades, right? Then why this sudden need of introduction of electronics in it?
Well, scientists claim that the best part about the application of electronics is that it is completely reversible, hence it can be changed at any point of time without posing a threat to the originality and the existence of the plant species.
cyborg rose
Scientists are hopeful that soon plants would have embedded electronic circuits to guide them about the best time to bloom. Also, they would be having indicators of nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients assisting the farmers being more particular about the fertilizers that they add, thereby ensuring better and superior quality of production.
What do you think about cyborg roses? Let us know in the comments below.
Annesha De

Annesha De

Enthusiastic writer. Loves Writing, Mathematics & Teaching ! More of a smart worker than a hard worker ! :D
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