(via) What if your plants had legs to seek out sunshine and the ability to call out for water when they needed it? It’s an idea that perfect for those incapable of keeping house plants alive, and one that hit a nerve with Tianqi Sun, the founder of the Chinese robotics company Vincross. Though there was no horticultural facet to the six-legged HEXA interactive companion robot he originally engineered (starts at $949 USD), he went ahead and repurposed one to carry a flowerpot.
“The original idea of the project came from a dead sunflower. 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 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. …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.”