Stories about Plants
The revolution of plantoids
Robots are usually inspired by humans and animals. But the very last frontier is the ‘plantoids’ – plant robots able to move and explore the environment with their smart sensors. Their ‘mother’ is researcher Barbara Mazzolai
A robo-vegetal hybrid society is rising
Plants can grow elaborate shapes for public spaces through a network of sensors and 3D-printed robotic nodes
Research projects about Plants
The FutureAgriculture projects aims at designing a synthetic enzyme to improve natural photorespiration in plants. This is pursued by combining disparate lines of investigation such as computational biology, microbiology and plant physiology. If successful, the project may significantly improve agricultural productivity and help feed billions of people worldwide.
The flora robotica project targets to develop and investigate closely linked symbiotic relationships between robots and natural plants and to explore the potentials of a plant-robot society able to produce architectural artifacts (e.g., walls, roofs, benches) and living spaces, providing functionality such as shade, air quality control, and stress relief. The project assembles a highly cross disciplinary team drawn from the fields of Computer Science, Robotics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Zoology, Advanced Mechatronics & Environmental Sensing and Architecture.
The PLANTOID project designed and developed a number of innovative robots and ICT technologies directly inspired by the roots of plants. These robotic roots are equipped with sensors monitoring the environment and giving inputs to let them decide how to move into the soil. This technology may find applications in soil analysis, agriculture, medicine and space exploration.
The GrowBot project wishes to develop robots that imitate the behaviour of climbing plants using ICT technologies. They adapt their movements based on external environmental conditions and grow accordingly using additive manufacturing processes. This technology may find applications related to energy efficiency and harvesting.