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Watch Out for This Machete-Wielding House Plant

I never thought I’d see the day that plants took up arms against us. Though I can’t say I blame them. Artist David Bowen is behind the idea of this armed greenery, which Poison Ivy would certainly approve of. He connects sensors to the plant that pick up the electrical signals it gives off. Custom software then maps those to the joint movements of the robotic arm holding the machete. The philodendron, a common house plant, is essentially the brains of this dangerous operation. And it’s more ominous than you might think, especially when you consider how humans devastate the planet. Who can blame plants for finally fighting back?

Scientists study these same electrical signals of plants and mushrooms as a potential form of language. Other artists adapt them into sound and make beautiful plant music. Bowen chose violence instead, arming the philodendron like Friday the 13th’s Jason or Machete‘s Machete.

David Bowen’s Vimeo channel is full of other interesting art projects that pair the natural world with mechanical technology. There’s video of a drone piloted by the same electrical impulses from an onboard plant. There’s also a gun controlled by houseflies and a piano played by clouds. They’re much more than just unlikely word combinations, they’re also low-key thrilling to watch.  

David Bowen

Before this art project, plants were mostly limited to attacking us with seasonal allergies or mild itchiness. Though of course Australia has venomous trees. But now they’re going on the offensive and we have to really watch our backs. Hopefully war with the plants isn’t inevitable. Though we wouldn’t mind watching it as a storyline in the upcoming season four of Harley Quinn

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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