Oct 29, 2018

Guy Gives Plant Robotic Legs So It Can Experience Animal-Like Freedom

Written by

Tianqi Sun/Vincross


It all started in 2014 when robotics engineer Tianqi Sun came across a dead sunflower:

“I went to see a sunflower exhibition, and found myself focused on a dead sunflower near a ground of blooms. The dead flower sat in a place that was always in a shadow. I had no idea how it ended up there or why it died – whether it was because of the lack of sunshine or water – but it was just there, and it was dead. I thought, if it could move a little bit, take a 30-feet walk out of the shadow to where the other sunflowers were, it would have lived healthily. But it didn’t.
Plants are passive. Eternally, inexplicably passive. No matter if they are being cut, bitten, burned or pulled from the earth, or when they lack sunshine, water, or are too hot or cold, they will hold still and take whatever is happening to them. They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in nature. This is simply the default setting that nature gives to plants.
Each life has its own default settings, including human beings. We humans are not built to go to the depths of the ocean to explore its wonder; nor are we meant to fly to the skies to have the clouds beneath our feet. We’re not meant to land on the moon to view the blue planet. For millions of years, humans have been following their settings, and it’s not until the last century that we started to break those laws. We invented submarines, airplanes, and the Apollo Program, essentially helping us to break our default settings.
However, for billions of years, plants have never experienced movement of any kind, not even the simplest movement. Their whole lives, they stick to where they were born. Do they desire to break their own settings or have a tendency towards this? If human beings always try to break the settings with technology, how about plants? I do not know the answer, but I would love to try to share some of this human tendency and technology with plants. With a robotic rover base, plants can experience mobility and interaction. I do hope that this project can bring some inspiration to the relationship between technology and natural default settings. [source]


It chases the sunshine when it needs it



It spins when it enjoys the sun to have the sunshine on all its sides



It looks for shades when it needs to cool off



It plays with humans



It plays with humans



It dances when it’s ‘happy’



It gets grumpy when it’s thirsty



HEXA is a six-legged, highly customizable and programmable robot developed by Vincross. This specific project, “Sharing Human Technology with Plants,” was created by Tianqi Sun, the CEO and Founder of Vincross; whose goal is to make robotics accessible to the masses.

For more information on HEXA and Vincross visit vincross.com.



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