The nominating institution Nanyang Technological University on the breakthrough:

Significant progress has been made in developing bioinspired sensors and actuators based on synthetic materials, although there remains a critical need to incorporate cost-effective and ecofriendly materials. Naturally abundant pollen grains were used as a material template to produce a paper-like actuator that can serve as the basis for self-propelled robots, flexible electronics, and multifunctional devices. These pollen-based material innovations can potentially replace plastics.