Plants, on the whole, do not move fast. While Venus flytraps and Mimosa pudicas have rapidly moving leaves, plants themselves tend to stay stationary. But what if they had robotic legs to help them out? A robotics company has modded its latest bot to make that dream a reality.
Hexa, developed by the Beijing-based Vincross, is a six-legged bot with 19 servos, infrared and 720p cameras, a customizable Linux-based OS, and big ambitions—the company’s home page imagines a Hexa on Mars. The new robot mod, developed by Vincross roboticist Sun Tianqi, is “an installation project of a walking succulent plant,” Tianqi said last year in the Hexa forums.
“In 2014, 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 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,” Tianqi recalls.
That dream of moving a flower got incorporated into the robot he was building at the time, the Hexa.
The build is custom, with a unique dual-layer “flower pot” replacing Hexa’s plastic shell. The modded robot can move itself into sunlight, spin to get itself properly situated in the sun, move itself out of the sun, signal when it needs to be watered, and dance “when it’s happy” (the capabilities and specifics of the last two are not fully explained on the Vincross site).
Plants are among the most amazing organisms on the planet, with legs or without. A doctor at the Salk Institute is currently trying to engineer the next generation of plant amazement by making them capable of absorbing astonishing amounts of carbon dioxide. But it’s hard to beat the coolness of a six-legged bunch of greenery.
Source: The Verge
Previously published by: Popular Mechanics USA