No matter how pretty your garden may be it only gets that way because of all of the hard work you put into it. But, in the future gardens might not need your help at all, reordering themselves at a robotic whim. (Video)
That’s the idea that drove researcher and artist Cassinelli Alvaro to construct the Toro-bots, a pair of walking, locationally-aware robots with Japanese lanterns as heads. These little garden ‘bots are meant to meander about your topiaries and flower pots, altering the overall aesthetic of your garden every time you lift your head. Even better, each of the Toro-bots has its own encoded “personality”. With a series of infrared rangefinders, the robots can sense their surroundings, even reacting to human visitors to their garden by stepping out of your way.
The robots are connected to a central hub via Xbee radios. This hub then connects to your iPad wirelessly, allowing you to monitor them or alter their personalities at the touch of a screen. In the future, we can see the planters themselves being outfitted with this sort of mobility as well. Not only your lanterns but every single plant in your garden could simply decide to pack up and move to a new location on its own. Alvaro believes this sort of autonomous reorganization would effectively mimic the random beauty found in nature. For us, just the thought of looking out the window to see the shrubbery sneaking across the lawn on robotic legs is enough to have us scrambling for our wallets.