Scientists in Italy are working on creating robots that mimic the properties of plant roots, including the capacity for growth. They believe the potential future applications are not just the stuff of science-fiction.

Before creating their root-like robots, researchers needed first to understand how real roots behave underground – a far from simple task, as Barbara Mazzolai, a biologist at the Italian Institute of Technology and coordinator of the Plantoid Project explained: “Plants roots evolve in a very complex environment; deep in the ground.

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