PlantBot: Humans Provide Gift Of Greater Mobility With 'Skrodes'

Vernor Vinge wrote about a strange race in his 1992 novel A Fire Upon the Deep:

Ravna looked across the surf. When the waves backed down the sand, she could see the Skroderiders' fronds peeping out of the spray... They sat in the surf, thinking thoughts that left no imprint on their minds...

Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out." Someone had put them on mobile platforms, the skrodes. With wheels they could move along the seashores, could reach and manipulate with their fronds and tendrils. With the skrode's mechanical short-term memory, they could learn fast enough that their new mobility would not kill them...

A group of gentle and advanced beings, the Play Coalition, has decided to do something quite similar for houseplants. Behold: PlantBot - solar seeking botanical augmentation.


(PlantBot by the Play Coalition: Neil, Dane and Joe)

I had the opportunity to ask Neil some questions about PlantBot:

    Technovelgy: I enjoyed looking at PlantBot; I was wondering whether or not it had an sort of sun-seeking robotics, or whether you've just provided legs for easy movement.

    Neil, The Play Coalition: Plantbot is fully mobile and autonomous, it's behavior is driven by basic light-seeking and IR obstacle avoidance systems. Ideally the Plantbot would be able to respond to input from a thermometer as well as atmospheric and soil-based moisture levels, but that's a bit out of our league!

    Technovelgy: Where do you get inspiration for something like this?

    Neil, The Play Coalition: Inspiration came from the rather lofty desire to produce objects that would innately and charmingly flirt with peoples definition/perception of life. There was also a broader motivation to play with the relationship between nature, technology and human culture.

    If I had to cite specific influences the work of Eduardo Kac, Theo Jansen, Ken Rinaldo, Rodney Brooks, Richard Dawkins and jean Baudrillard would be high on the list.

    Technovelgy: Any influences from science fiction?

    Neil, The Play Coalition: With specific regard to science-fiction; I'd have to mention Masamune Shirow, William Gibson and how could I forget John Wyndham's apocalyptic 'The Day of the Triffids'...

In a similar vein, readers may recall the famous Terranaut - a fish that explores land in a robotic vehicle [video].


(Terranaut robotic vehicle helps fish explore land)

As long as I'm thinking about it, consider the lowly cockroach given a coach; the cockroach-controlled robot created by Garnet Hertz (see also the cockroach-controlled robot video.


(From Communication in the Animal and the Machine)

From the Play Coalition; thanks to AJ for this cool find.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/19/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Rplate Digital License Plates Now Legal In Michigan
'Gragg's digital ink license plates ...' - Daniel Suarez, 2009.

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...' - James Blish, 1957.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

BloxVox Mutes Cellphone Convos
It's the polite thing to do, and has been the polite thing to do for about four generations.

Superfast Replicator: Volumetric Additive Manufacturing
I can't wait. Bring it on.

DNA May Contain Malware
'You were told to embed the logical pathogen.'

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...'

Rplate Digital License Plates Now Legal In Michigan
'Gragg's digital ink license plates ...'

Can Musk Starship Astronauts Use Magnetic Boots?
'Walking awkwardly in the magnetic boots that held him to the black mass of meteoric iron...'

Giant Dolphin Spotted On Jupiter!
'Now at last he could appreciate its real size and complexity...'

Musk's Starship An SF Fan's Dream Come True
Perfect for testing, perfect for fans!

TinyMobileRobots Are Sewer Sentinels
Every movie monster gets its start someplace.

Fishy Facial Recognition Now Possible
'Palenkis can identify random line patterns better than any other species in the universe.'

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.