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USA Today

MIT researchers are developing plants that can glow in the dark and provide light all night, reports USA Today. “The high-tech plants are embedded with nanoparticles that absorb light during the day or from other light sources like LEDs. After the lights go out, they slowly release that stored energy as luminescence over time.”

BBC News

Graduate student Ashley Beckwith speaks with BBC Radio 5 about her work developing a new concept for growing wood in the lab, as part of an effort to supplement traditional forestry methods. "We dedicate a lot of resources to growing whole plants, when all we use really is a very small portion of the plant,” says Beckwith. “So somehow we needed to figure out a more strategic way to reproduce materials that isn't so reliant on the land."

Wired

Writing for Wired, Keith Gillogly spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a new technique that could lead to the development of lab-grown wood and other biomaterials. “The hope is that, if this becomes a developed process for producing plant materials, you could alleviate some of [the] pressures on our agricultural lands. And with those reduced pressures, hopefully we can allow more spaces to remain wild and more forests to remain in place,” says graduate student Ashley Beckwith,

Axios

Axios reporter Bryan Walsh spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new way for chemical signals in spinach leaves to transmit emails. “The system could help provide an early warning system for explosives or pollution, but really, we just want to know what the spinach are thinking,” writes Walsh.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Adele Peters spotlights Prof. Michael Strano’s work exploring how to embed nanoparticles into plant leaves, as part of an effort to see if they could serve as sensors. “We started asking the question, can we make living plants to do some of the functions that humans do by stamping things out of plastic and circuit boards—things that go into landfills?” says Strano.

Guardian

MIT researchers have developed a way to embed spinach leaves with sensors, which would allow them to serve as sensors that could monitor groundwater for contaminates, reports The Guardian. “Plants are very environmentally responsive,” explains Prof. Michael Strano. “If we tap into those chemical signaling pathways, there is a wealth of information to access.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Kristin Toussaint writes about how MIT researchers have developed a new technique for growing wood-like plant tissues in the lab. The work, they say, is still in its very early stages, but provides a starting point to a new way of producing biomaterials. “It’s a process that eventually could help accelerate our shift away from plastics and other materials that end up in landfill toward materials that can biodegrade,” writes Toussaint.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington writes that MIT researchers have developed a new method for growing plant tissues in a lab. “Potential applications of lab-grown plant material are significant,” writes Etherington, “and include possibilities in both agriculture and in construction materials.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie spotlights Cyborg Botany, a project at the Media Lab aimed to tap into how plants react to their environments. The researchers grew plants with “conductive wires in their intercellular spaces. That allowed the plants to become inconspicuous motion sensors, sending a signal via microelectrodes to a laptop every time someone walked by.”

WBUR

MIT researchers have developed a new technique to synthesize the feel-good molecules in the Kava plant root, reports Carey Goldberg for WBUR. “What we do in our lab is to actually start from plants that have thousands of years of use in traditional medicine," says Prof. Jing-Ke Weng. "We already know there's something in that plant that works to treat some illness."

Fast Company

MIT researchers are developing ways to transform plants into interfaces, reports Katharine Schwab for Fast Company. Schwab explains that the researchers hope to eventually be able to develop “plants that can transfer signals and act almost like a networked computer.”

NBC Mach

Reporting for NBC Mach, Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky writes that MIT researchers are developing augmented plants that can serve as sensors. Jeffrey-Wilensky explains that the researchers believe the plants could one day be used to “guard our homes, connect us to distant friends and send us gentle push notifications without the sensory overload of a computer screen.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Dave Grossman writes that MIT researchers are “utilizing plants' natural abilities of sensory detection and attempting to co-join them with modern tech.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Profs. Michael Strano and Sheila Kennedy have developed an exhibit for the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, which explores how Strano’s glowing plant research could be part of a sustainable energy future. “The pair is one of 62 design teams involved in the [Triennial], which highlights innovative ways humans are engaging with nature,” writes Emily Matchar for Smithsonian

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter David Axe spotlights how MIT researchers developed an algorithm that determines the optimal growing conditions for basil. “The goal was to duplicate—and improve upon—the kind of industrial farming setups that are becoming increasingly popular in crowded countries with limited arable land,” writes Axe.