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Biotech

Researchers Create Plant-Circuit Hybrid (sciencemag.org) 39

sciencehabit writes: Researchers have crafted flexible electronic circuits inside a rose. Eventually such circuitry may help farmers eavesdrop on their crops and even control when they ripen. The advance may even allow people to harness energy from trees and shrubs not by cutting them down and using them for fuel, but by plugging directly into their photosynthesis machinery. The researchers used "an organic electronic building block called PEDOT-S:H. Each of these building blocks consists of a short, repeating chain of a conductive organic molecule with short arms coming off each link of the chain. Each of the arms sports a sulfur-containing group linked to a hydrogen atom. Berggren's group found that when they placed them in the water, the rose stems readily pulled the short polymer chains up the xylem channels (abstract). ... The upshot was that the myriad short polymer chains quickly linked themselves together into continuous strings as long as 10 centimeters. The researchers then added electronic probes to opposite ends of these strings, and found that they were, in fact, wires, conducting electricity all down the line."
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Researchers Create Plant-Circuit Hybrid

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  • Not to get electricity from (as suggested) but to plug directly into me to recharge me!

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      First thing I thought of: "Holy shit! This is amazing." To be able to put tech, in the newer sense, directly into a plant is astounding. Really, I didn't think I'd ever see such things in my lifetime. For all the complaining we do, we sure have some insanely cool stuff either already made or in the works. I carry an order (probably two or three) of magnitude computer power in my pocket than was used to put a man on the moon.

      Worse? (Or more impressive?) I don't even *need* it for anything. Then, look at the

      • Really, I didn't think I'd ever see such things in my lifetime. For all the complaining we do, we sure have some insanely cool stuff either already made or in the works.

        I'm still trying to wrap my head around "Space Food Sticks".

        http://www.phaidon.com/resourc... [phaidon.com]

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Now I know you're old. ;-) I remember absolutely having to have a pair of PJs that had astronauts on them. I seem to recall that I "settled" for the pair that I got (Woolworth's I think?) because they didn't have feet. PJs with feet were awesome when I was a kid. I could slide across the floor like a ninja. That was high tech stuff, right there. Look at us today. Imagine, if we were old enough to have seen the first jets or cars?

          • PJs with feet were awesome when I was a kid. I could slide across the floor like a ninja.

            You know, they make pajamas with feet for adults, right? Just be prepared for your significant other to never look at you the same way again.

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              I did not know that. :/ I don't think I'd buy any. The magic is best left in the past. Besides, I'd break a hip.

  • Circuits? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @11:45AM (#50975669) Homepage Journal

    Wires, according to TFS. Not much of a circuit, really...

    But it's a start. Perhaps they'll also figure out resistors, capacitors and semiconductors. Along with a way for them to self-assemble in such a way as to be able to do something of an intentionally designed nature.

    Interesting to see such research going on. I wonder what the eventual consequences might be if they can go further. Rare plants that report to "central" if you try to uproot or poison them? Vegetation that sends out an analysis of the digestive conditions of those that eat them? Weeds that are weather stations? Surveillance built into the trees on a nicely shaded street? Organic LED displays from the garden? Soft, programmable illumination from the tree over your picnic table?

    Okay, perhaps I just need more coffee. Not supposed to be dreaming after I wake up. :)

    • Doctor who episode "Flesh and Stone" the ship had a forest of "Tree Borgs"

      i think that semiconductors will be the real trick since

      Resistors= chunks of plant that have silicon or carbon
      Capacitors= Berry type nodules
      Inductors= Coils of wire

  • poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)
    polystyrene sulfonate
    covalently attached anionic side group

    Obviously Eeeevil Monsanto is involved. All right-thinking students and faculty at LinkÃping University must shun and harass these evil doers!!

  • by xdor ( 1218206 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @12:38PM (#50975863)

    Thought of this as a science-fiction premise about 8 years ago. A world where one would literally grow a cell-phone -- completely biodegradable.

    At this rate we'll have silly elf-leaves growing around our ears that allow us to communicate with each other -- having all the appearance of telepathy but all the boring reality of CDMA

  • I, for one, wholeheartedly welcome our Robotic Plant Overlords.

    • I, for one, wholeheartedly welcome our Robotic Plant Overlords.

      I don't. At least there will be warning. Just watch out for these plants demanding blood. They are known to prey on unsuspecting awkward antisocial guys and make them extravagant promises, so this is particularly relevant to the Slashdot crowd.

      I quote an ancient warning song of the bards passed down for generations:

      They may offer you fortune and fame,
      Love and money and instant acclaim,
      But whatever they offer you:
      Don't feed the plants!

      They may offer you lots of cheap thrills,
      Fancy condos in Bev

  • The advance may even allow people to harness energy from trees and shrubs not by cutting them down and using them for fuel, but by plugging directly into their photosynthesis machinery.

    Isn't this how The Matrix began?

  • Does it get broken down into something harmless in the stomach? Or do YOU get conductive lines along YOUR plumbing?

    It's not a minor thing: For starters the heartbeat propagation is partly electrical. Better-than-blood-plasma conductors laid out along the plumbing of the heart might affect the heartbeat in a dangerous manner.

  • Opps, I meant the anti-GMO crowd. This electrical circuitry might get out into the wild, and soon the only roses left will be circuitzed.
  • so much for the matrix...

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