In the digital age—where technological innovation has accelerated drastically—the existence of a bionic plant does not seem like an outlandish concept. In fact, it isn’t. Harpreet Sareen, a graduate of the highly regarded MIT Media Lab, has succeeded in developing a bionic plant that can “instantly detect irregularities in water quality, catching them long before they become a problem for residents in the neighborhood or district.”
Dubbed ‘Argus,’ the innovation is inspired by the Flint Water Crisis. Sareen developed a specialized mixture of nano-sensing materials (more precisely of DNA-based biosensors and carbon nanotubes) and injected them into a plant. When impurities or toxins are detected, the nano-sensing materials produce fluorescent signals that can be detected with an affordable camera setup. Thus, the bionic plant becomes an efficient, electricity-free system for monitoring water.
Image Credit: Yanko Design