The Action Plant Runs Away from Your Touch

Allison Guy
August 23rd 2012

Plants have it tough. They're tasty, silent, and stuck to the spot. With Jurema Action Plant, artist Ivan Henriques has given plants the mobility they deserve . Henriques' pieces links up Mimosa pudica – the touch-me-not plant – with hacked wheelchair. When the plant's touch-sensitive leaves curl away from a person's prying fingers, integrated sensors trigger the wheelchair robot to scoot away to safety.

While plants do not have nervous systems like animals or wires like machines, they do use electrical signaling within their cells. Henriques takes advantage of this fact, using a series of electrodes placed around the plant to measure changes in its electromagnetic field. These electrodes communicate to the robot which direction it should flee. Add a pair of water tanks, and the shy Mimosa plant is fully self-sufficient. Jurema Action Plant is a hybrid entity, a way to empower plants through machinery to give them the trappings of conscious behavior. Just like the Lorax, Jurema Action Plant speaks for the trees.

Action Plant will be exhibited at the 2012 Transnatural Festival in Amsterdam. 

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Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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