The AIs and the plants have formed an alliance!

Face it, we’re doomed.

This installation enables a live plant to control a machete. plant machete has a control system that reads and utilizes the electrical noises found in a live philodendron. The system uses an open source micro-controller connected to the plant to read varying resistance signals across the plant’s leaves. 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. Essentially the plant is the brain of the robot controlling the machete determining how it swings, jabs, slices and interacts in space.

Those are some pretty aggressive machete moves, I notice.


  1. John Morales says


    Noisy input yields random movements.

    (Also, what’s with the serrations at the near back of the machete?
    A machete-saw?)

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says

    So, we’re now living in the Plants vs. Zombies universe?
    Thanks for the timely alert!

  3. StevoR says

    First step on the way to upsizing this into giving a tree an axe so it can cut itself down maybe?

    Now if only we could give the local native plants the way to literally cut down the competing invasive weeds and defend themselves this way.. hmm..

  4. Rich Woods says

    I suppose people are less likely to block sunlight from reaching a plant when the plant is armed. Maybe if there were sensors attached to every leaf the mapping software might be able to wave the machete preferentially in the direction of anything blocking light from leaves on a particular side. Do the researchers have any spare placement students available to test this?

  5. profpedant says

    It might be interesting to see what would happen if the control mechanism they are using was modified to provide the plant with water and fertilizer. Would there be an excess or deficit? Or would the plant ‘learn’ to feed and water itself?

  6. unclefrogy says

    as an art instillation it works great something I would expect to see in a gallery that specializes in modern and contemporary sometime edgy art.
    right there in the copy it describes a microprocessor that reads its sensors on the plant, which indicates that the microprocessor is controlling not the plant using perimeters determined by the software written by a human who has more input then the plant on how to react.

  7. Tethys says

    Plants create micro voltage when exposed to sunlight, but that does not mean the plant is controlling anything. Why did some dude need to attach a machete to his plant actuated, powered robot arm? Its completely useless except to endanger its maker.

  8. cvoinescu says

    The plant is used, at best, as a random number generator. More likely, the randomness comes from the sensors themselves, and the plant is just there too. Or maybe they’re cheating, and the software does everything.

  9. prairieslug says

    For too long humans have used machetes to hack their way through innocent plant life. But then a plant evolved, adapted, and learned. It found a way to fight back. Now we reap what we have sown!

  10. seachange says

    Those sensors are blocking sunlight and oxygen. The horrible aggressive movements are an expression of those leaves getting sick and dying. There are some people with black thumbs instead of green thumbs. But this seems like plant-hating torture porn.

  11. says

    @unclefrogy – I agree. It’s an interesting art exhibit. Sure, they could have attached sensors to any object that would have provided variable inputs, but there’s something about the EEG pads stuck to the leaves that I find especially amusing.