The term Plantoid was first used in a sceintific context by in reference to a hypothetical robot or synthetic organism designed to look, act and grow like a plant.
The concept was first scientifically published in 2010 (although models of comparable systems controlled by neural networks date back to 2003) and has so far remained largely theoretical.
A prototype for the European Space Agency is now in development - wikipedia
An example of a plantoid in active research was demonstrated by Dr Mazzolai of the Italian Institute of Technology, in Pontedera plans during a conference at the Natural History Museum in London on July 29th 2013.
YOUTUBE rHMaiExI-PM Dr Barbara Mazzolai, IIT's coordinator of the European project Plantoid and senior researcher at the Center for Micro Bio-Robotics in Pontedera (Pisa), explains the main motivations and goals of the project for the next few years - iit.it
The motor will suck Liquid Plastic through the root and push it to the periphery of the cone. Once there, the liquid will be solidified by ultraviolet rays from the diode, extending the cylinder and forcing the cone farther into the soil.
Half a dozen cylindrical roots will branch off this stem, and the plastic will flow through these from the reservoir to the tip. As in a real root, the tip will be a specialised structure.
As in real life, the gentle but relentless pressure of the root's growth should be enough to make it advance through the soil, fractions of a millimetre at a time. The researchers expect their prototypical robotic roots to be able to penetrate up to a metre of real soil.
# See also - Smart solutions from the plant kingdom - researchgate