October 20, 2008 Not only are humanity's days as the dominant life form on the planet numbered – it seems plants might have to start looking over their shoulders as well. The robot research laboratory at Chonnam National University in Korea has developed a robotic plant that has humidifying, oxygen-producing, aroma-emitting, and kinetic functions.
Not only does the robot emit oxygen, moisture, and aroma just like real plants, it also responds to stimuli, such as approaching persons, music or light. When a person comes within a 40 cm radius of the flower, its supersonic sensor perceives the approach, the stem bends towards the person, and the buds come into full bloom. When the person leaves, the plant returns to its original state. If a person's voice becomes louder than a certain level, the flower buds will come into bloom, and the stem shakes slightly to suggest a greeting. When the room lights up, the buds open and close, and when music is played, the plant dances.
The robot was developed using characteristics of plants normally grown for ornamental purposes. It is 130cm tall and 40cm in diameter and consists of a pot, a stem, and five buds of a flower reminiscent of a rose of Sharon. The designers say users could build a "robot garden" of several robots embedded with a ubiquitous networking system or use them for indoor interior decoration.
Project leader Park Jong-oh said. “It’s a fresh attempt to introduce the concept of plants, rather than humans or animals, to robot making.”
The Rubber plant in the corner is starting to look a little boring, but we'll stick with it for now.
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