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Venus Flytrap Cyborg Snaps Shut with Smartphone Commands

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The jaws of a Venus flytrap attached to a robotic arm.

Li says these new electrodes stay more securely attached to the plant than electrodes made of silver chloride that plant researchers typically use. They also have lower electrical resistance, so they are more energy-efficient.

Credit: Wenlong Li

Wenlong Li and colleagues at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University have transformed Venus flytraps into biological robots.

The researchers attached to the plant special electrodes made from a new type of hydrogel combined with a silver mesh conductor.

A wireless chip added to the electrodes allows the researchers to command the flytrap to shut its leaves via smartphone.

The team also detached and connected the plant's "jaws" to a robotic arm, enabling them to pick up thin platinum wire through wireless control.

The researchers say commanding flytraps to open after closing is more challenging, as the process takes up to an hour and cannot be sped up by electrical impulses.

From New Scientist
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