First 3D Printed Seed Robot

A group of researchers from Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Genoa, Italy, University di Torento and Queen Mary University of London have developed a 3D printed seed robot made from the biodegradable polymer material and named as I-Seed. The inspiration behind this innovation was the plant of the Geraniaceae family which has a great ability to move across the soil depending on the humidity change in the soil. The movement of the plant is fully autonomous. This property of the plant seed is copied and utilized to develop the seed robot which also can move freely according to the change in humidity. Additionally, the seed robot doesn’t need any kind of additional energy for the movement.

This artificial seed has shown a wide range of application potential. It can be utilized for reforestation applications, environmental monitoring applications etc. the ultimate aim of researchers was to develop a sensor that can monitor the humidity, temperature, CO2 levels in air and quality parameters of soil.


In suitable environmental condition, the seeds of Gerianaceae plants separate from the plant and cellulose present in the seed absorbs moisture and start movement throughout the soil by changing the shape of the source and hence germination begins. By analysis of the tissue movement in seeds, researchers have cloned the seed by using a combination of electrospinning and 3D printing technologies.

Source: Istituto Italiano di Technologia (IIT), Genoa, Italy

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