Many plants tend to spend most of their lives rooted to the spot – and this lack of mobility could perhaps be seen as an evolutionary disadvantage. To counter this, Mexico-based Gilberto Esparza is working towards plant mobility with his Nomadic Plants project.
“An ecosystem contained in a biotechnological robot built for plants and micro-organisms to live symbiotically in the body of a machine.”
Plantas Nómadas version 2.0 has eight motorised legs, onboard photovoltaic panels, and a set of bio-reactor cells. The self-sustaining phyto-bot can identify and walk towards water sources – preferably contaminated ones – when the onboard micro-organisms, or the resident rooted plants need sustenance. The soiled water is sucked onboard via a small extendible derrick, and is routed towards the bio-reactor cells where nutrients required by the onboard life-forms are extracted.
Full details (in Spanish) can be found at the Plantas Nómadas dedicated website.
They are also currently on exhibition at the LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijon, Spain. Now extended until June, 7, 2010. Details here