Band Develops Bionic Arm So Plants Can Play Live Instruments

A Manchester, UK-based music collective has built a device that gives a living plant the power to “play” musical instruments.

The group, known as Bionic and the Wires, creates electronic music compositions with plants, combining “botanical rhythms with atmospheric textures and soundscapes created by synthesizers,” according to their website.

The group’s “bionic robot arm” device is capable of harnessing the naturally occurring electrical bio-signals found in all plants. These signals occur due to processes like photosynthesis. 

Sensors are attached to plant leaves to capture these signals, which are then transformed by the equipment into electricity, powering robotic arms that can “play” instruments like steel drums and even the violin, according to Bionic and the Wires.

Building on the technology of Data Garden’s well-known PlantWave device, the development marks the first time a plant has been able to play a live instrument. 

Led by Andy Kidd on the keyboard and Jon Ross “on the plants,” Bionic and the Wires will debut their plant performance at Manchester’s Castlehead Viaduct this Saturday, April 20, 2024.

“We’ve spent many months researching and developing the new bionic robot arms,” Ross said in a statement. “It’s exciting to think that with this invention we may have opened up the opportunity for a whole new genre of music. Maybe it’s called bionica!?”

Tickets for Bionic and the Wires’ upcoming Manchester show are now available here.

For more information or to hear the plants play music, visit

Featured image from Bionic and the Wires.

Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University with a passion for culture and fat basslines.

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