Hortum Machina Robot: The Robot Garden
Although they don’t have what we call ‘nervous systems’, plants are actually smart and sentient. They can be electro-chemically stimulated by (and thus react to) the surrounding light, temperature, humidity, pollution and vibration. That is why William Victor Camilleri and Danilo Sampaio, from the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) believe that plants could potentially have a say in the behaviour of our buildings, infrastructure and public spaces. Their prototype Hortum machina, B (Garden machine, Bucky) is a large geodesic sphere that moves around the city according to the plants’ whims and physiological needs. The mobile ecosystem has a robotic core wrapped in twelve garden modules. Whenever the lowermost plants require more sunlight, they ‘vote’ to have the sphere gently roll over. If it becomes too hot for the majority of them, they will steer the structure towards the shade. The structure uses harmlessly inserted electrodes to measure the plant’s physical responses to the variation in their immediate environment and networks the plants together.
- Country: England
- Company: Interactive Architecture Lab