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Flower robots for your home

Flower robots are not new and some have already been developed in the U.S. Now, South Korean researchers have created a robotic plant which acts like real ones. This robot has humidifying, oxygen-producing, aroma-emitting, and kinetic functions. It is about 1.30 meter tall and 40 centimeters in diameter. The robotic plant can interact with people when they approach it and can 'dance' when music is played. The researchers don't say when a commercial version of their flowers will come to market. They also don't mention a retail price. But read more...
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Written by Roland Piquepaille, Inactive on

Flower robots are not new and some have already been developed in the U.S. Now, South Korean researchers have created a robotic plant which acts like real ones. This robot has humidifying, oxygen-producing, aroma-emitting, and kinetic functions. It is about 1.30 meter tall and 40 centimeters in diameter. The robotic plant can interact with people when they approach it and can 'dance' when music is played. The researchers don't say when a commercial version of their flowers will come to market. They also don't mention a retail price. But read more...

Korean flower robot

You can see above a picture of this Korean flower robot. (Credit: Chonnam National University/Yonhap News Agency) Here is a link to the original version of this photo.

This robotic flower has been developed by a team led by Park Jong-Oh at Chonnam National University in the robot research laboratory.

Now, let's look at some details provided by the short article of The Digital Chosun Ilbo. "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 researchers think that it would be possible to build "robot gardens" to build home networking systems. And Park Jong-Oh adds that his approach is "a fresh attempt to introduce the concept of plants, rather than humans or animals, to robot making."

Even if the researchers don't say when such robotic flowers become available, they've published several papers about these 'plants.' For example you can read "Development of stem structure for flower robot using SMA actuators," a technical paper which was presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics in 2007 (ROBIO 2007).

Here is the beginning of the abstract. "As a smart home service robot, the flower robot has various intelligent functions, such as moving mechanism, sensing ability, and home appliance functions. Especially, the moving function is very important function among the various function. The moving function of flower robot consists of the blooming of flower, the swaying of the stem and the stirring of the leaves in the wind. In this paper, we focused on the swaying of the stem structure. As an actuator for stem structure, we adopted coil type SMA and then proposed silicone stem structure with 3 coil type SMA. Using SMA actuator, we designed and fabricated the stem structure with 8 mm of diameter and 50 mm of length."

You also can read another paper presented at the International Conference on Control, Automation and Systems in 2007 (ICCAS '07), "A study on the moving mechanism for flower robot."

Here is the abstract. "As a service robot, we proposed a flower robot which has several functions, such as moving mechanism, sensing ability, and home appliance functions. Among the various functions, the moving function of the flower robot is very important function. The moving flower robot can be divided as a flower, a stem and leaves. We tried to mimic the blooming of flower, the swaying of the stem and the stirring of the leaves in the wind. For the actuation of the flower robot, we used micromotors and tendon mechanisms. From the motions of the flower, the stem and the leaves, the desired target positions are decided. In addition, based on inverse kinematics and trajectory generations, the overall control system for the moving flower robot is constructed. Through the various experiments, the performances of each part of the flower robot are verified and the characteristics are discussed."

As I've mentioned in the introduction, U.S. researchers have also built robotic flowers. If you want to learn more about these robots, here are some sources of information.

Sources: The Digital Chosun Ilbo, South Korea, October 16, 2008; and various websites

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