EU project Flora Robotica

Creating Plant-Robot Bio-Hybrids for a Living Architecture

In this project the main goal is to close the interaction loop between 3 actors: robotic units, living plants and human stakeholders. By employing specific algorithms of collective-level control, a grid of robotic agents influences the direction of growth of plants, while they simultaneously sense the growth of the plant, in order to react to it. Sensing of plants is either done by proximate IR sensing or by computer vision based on cameras. The influence onto the plant growth is achieved by emitting light of specific wave lengths (red, blue or far-IR) and by coordinating these emissions with other robot nodes. Which patterns of stimulus emissions create the appropriate settings to let the plants grow in a desired manner is explored by machine-learning algorithms, creating a closed loop system that can run autonomously, with no human engineer, with no human designer and with no human programmer needed to be part of the loop.

A robotic node attracting a plant shoot with blue light emissions which can guide growth

A set of robotic nodes is "feeding" plants with red light emissions which are not attracting it

An advanced set of binary choice setups for plants and robots

A prototype of a rigid structure that organizes its growth with a plant-inspired algorithm

The binary decision wall of the project guiding a set of plants in a zig-zag pattern

Soft braided structured as a substrate for the plant growth

My research in the project EU-FET FloraRobotica is in cooperation with the following international and interdisciplinary partners: Prof. Heiko Hamann (University of Lübeck, D, coordinator), Prof. Pzemyslaw Wojtaszek (Adam Mickiewicz University, POL), Prof. Phil Ayres (Centre for Information Technology and Architecture Copenhagen, DK), Prof. Kasper Stoy (IT University Copenhagen, DK), Dr. Serge Kernbach (Cybertronica Research, Stuttgart, D). In my lab, Prof. Payam Zahadat and Mag. Daniel Hofstadler conduct significant work in this project.