Italian researchers have built a system that mimics the behavior of plant roots, with soft sensors designed to penetrate soil.
Researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology are building a robotic system that can mimic the behavior of plant roots. On display last week at the Living Machines conference in London, the system will be able to detect elements like water, temperature, pH and mineral levels.
New Scientist reports that bespoke soft sensors, tips and a friction-reducing mechanism will be used to penetrate soil. The researchers are also examining how roots interact with each other and coordinate their movements.
It is hoped that the system will help scientists study the environment. Plant-like robots could be used to monitor soil, and their ability to explore and anchor themselves could have applications in space exploration. You can check out the robot plant growing roots in the short video below: