Plant power: Autonomous “cyber garden” rolls its own way to better environment (VIDEO)

© Interactive Architecture Lab
Architects have developed a robotic ecosystem that allows plants to fend for themselves and seek out their ideal environment in a rolling sphere.

A series of sensors in the “cyber garden” monitor the plant’s electro-physiology “primitive intelligence,” according to William Victor Camilleri and Danilo Sampaio, researchers from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.

Much like animals, plants become electro-chemically stimulated by their environment.

The “half garden, half machine” project known as Hortum machina B essentially allows the plants to roll about and find their own resources without requiring human care.

A dozen planted sections are placed into the geodesic sphere, and these sections can be moved around within the center of the sphere by motors.

The electrochemistry of the plants guides the sphere in a particular direction and the system continues to assess whether the surroundings are suitable for the plants. If not, it will keep moving until it finds a suitable area.

The reEarth team behind the project says that in the context of a future with driverless cars and autonomous flying machines, Hortum machina B is a “speculative urban cyber-gardener”.

The use of technology in gardening and providing environmentally viable alternatives is growing.

Last month Infarm brought the first indoor farming installations of their kind to city shops in Berlin in the form of tiny vertical farms which grow and display produce.

The company says their vision for the future is one “where autonomous farms grow fresh premium produce at affordable prices, eliminating waste and environmental impact”.

Meanwhile, British company Biocarbon engineering has ambitious plans to “counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation” by planting 1 billion trees a year using drones.

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