US artist arms a philodendron with a machete

October 3, 2022 |

In Minnesota, artist David Bowen has created an art installation in which a philodendron sends signals that spur movement in a machete-wielding robotic arm. 

Dubbed “plant machete,” the wall-mounted work uses an open-source micro-controller connected to the plant that translates electrical signals from plant’s leaves into motion, according to the artist’s website. 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,” according to the artist. “Essentially the plant is the brain of the robot controlling the machete determining how it swings, jabs, slices and interacts in space.”

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