The inclination towards integrating science into biology has been quite a prominent part of scientific research in the past century or so. Our need to control everything in and around us drives this movement which has proved quite profitable for us as a species.
While we have seen a lot of success in experiments that are aimed at including electronic parts into existing biological systems, the future aim is to create biological systems that feature naturally integrated electronics.
Bringing this dream a lot closer to reality is a team of scientists at Linköping University in Sweden, who have developed what they claim to be the World’s First Electronic Plant, that features both analog and digital circuits inside a living rose plant.
The team used a special polymer, called PEDOT-S, to form wires inside the tissue that carries water around the plant, called the Xylem. The wires created during this process spread evenly throughout the plant, forming conductive structures longer than 5 centimeters (2 inches).
Using the wires and the sap, the scientists can create an electrochemical transistor, which can give out electronic outputs. The researchers used this phenomenon, to send electrochemical signals through the veins, which activated the organic pixels, changing the color in those leaves.
This technology, once developed completely would allow scientists to regulate the growth and chemical processes of the plants, as well as use photosynthesis to create solar cells that can produce energy for their own function & for other devices too.
Professor Magnus Berggren, leader of the group, believes that the work they are doing right now could create a new field of research in Botany. He has published this research in Science Advances, a reputed scientific journal.