What if you could grow your own house?
flora robotica is an exciting project funded under the EU-Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies Proactive Action. The aim is to develop and investigate a symbiotic relationship between plants and robots. One idea is to develop plant-robots that can build and create living spaces and architectural artefacts.
The tricky bit is to control the growth so that the plants grow in the desired shapes. The team has explored the idea to grow plants through white scaffolding with black strips woven into it to help guide the shape. The strips have LED lights and sensors that lure the plants to grow into shapes that have been pre-programmed. Computers and 3D-printed nodes constantly monitor the growth.
This is a long-term building project and with the interaction of humans, the plants and robots create meaningful architectural structures. Patience is needed, and it may take around 40 years to build your house. But maybe a super fast growing plant can be used!
This is a symbiotic relationship and robot support and controls the biological plants at the same time the biological plant guides the robotic plant through growth towards for example light. The plant also provides support for the weight of the robot during the later growth phases.
The team at flora robotica are also exploring ways to weave braided structures. These structures could result in the development of bendable arms. Similar to puppets’ arms that move when someone pulls a string.