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Plants

The PLANTOID robot, with its 'trunk' and sensor/leaf-bearing branches

The animal kingdom contains many examples of efficient forms of locomotion, so it's no wonder that we've been seeing a lot of animal-inspired robots – recent examples have included a robotic cheetah, fish and snake. Plants, however, just sit there ... don't they? Actually, they do move, just not necessarily in a Point A to Point B manner. With that in mind, Europe's PLANTOID project consortium is now in the process of developing a tree-like robot. Its descendants might ultimately find use in the exploration of other planets.  Read More

The super bananas are yellow on the outside (like the regular bananas seen here), but thei...

According to the Queensland University of Technology's Prof. James Dale, 650,000 to 700,000 children die worldwide every year due to pro-vitamin A deficiency. Many of those children live in East African nations such as Uganda. Dale's proposed solution? Take something that's already grown and eaten there, and genetically modify it to produce the needed vitamin. That's what he's done with the Highland cooking banana. The resulting "super bananas" are about to be the subject of human nutritional trials in the US.  Read More

Click and Grow's Smart Herb Garden aims to help people grow herbs at home with a minimum o...

It's rare that reviewing a device takes six weeks, but then, we don't usually have to wait for nature to let us actually write the review. Click and Grow's Smart Herb garden was released earlier this year. It aims to help users grow perfect herbs with a minimum of effort.  Read More

The new technique could allow corn to be grown in caves or on space colonies (Photo:  Ashl...

Scientists at Purdue University have come up with a way of growing corn in caves, but it doesn't involve some bizarre mating of maize and mushroom. Instead, they manipulated artificial light and temperature in such a way that the growth of the corn plants, while stunted, didn't significantly affect the seed yield. The finding could have a significant impact on the future of genetically modified crops by helping prevent genetically modified pollen escaping into the ecosystem.  Read More

Green Over Grey says it has created the world's largest interior living wall

A design firm has created what it says is the tallest indoor vertical garden in the world. Green Over Grey installed the living wall at the Desjardins building in Lévis, Quebec. Called "The Currents," the installation is inspired by views of the St. Lawrence River visible from Quebec City and Lévis.  Read More

The SCiO Pocket Molecular Sensor

Wondering how nutritious that food is, if that plant needs water, or just what that misplaced pill is? Well, the makers of SCiO claim that their device is able to tell you all of those things, plus a lot more. To use it, you just scan the item in question for one or two seconds, then check the readout on a Bluetooth 4.0-linked smartphone.  Read More

A growing tray in the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) that is headed to the ISS (Phot...

The International Space Station (ISS) may be a remarkable piece of engineering, but it’s so drab that it needs a window box to brighten things up. That isn't possible in the vacuum of space, but NASA is doing the next best thing on Monday as it sends its Vegetable Production System (Veggie) to the space station aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 mission. However, this plant-growing chamber will be more than a horticultural experiment, it's also a bit more culinary as it lets astronauts put fresh salad on the menu.  Read More

Ingameoffice has installed a green wall system into the TYJ Office Building in Shenzhen, C...

The benefits to health and wellbeing of having plants and greenery around an office are well documented. This project by Ingameoffice is more than just a few pot plants, though. Its TYJ Office Building refurbishment uses a vertical planting system in which plants can be moved around.  Read More

Click and Grow has launched its Smart Herb Garden

It's always useful to have fresh herbs to hand in the kitchen, but they can easily wither if not well-fed and watered. Click and Grow wanted to overcome this problem. Its Smart Herb Garden is now available. It plugs into the wall and lets users grow their herbs without having to lift a finger.  Read More

Droplet works by selectively watering the plants in your garden

There's no two ways about it: your common or garden sprinkler (so garden, in all probability) is a blithering half-wit. Rain or no, if you don't turn it off, it'll water your lawn whether it needs it or not, and much more besides. The Droplet wants to change all that. A sort of "smart" water cannon, it knows which parts of your garden to water, and when.  Read More

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