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Towards a new generation of plant-inspired growing artefacts

Objective

GrowBot proposes a disruptively new paradigm of movement in robotics inspired by the moving-by-growing abilities of climbing plants.
Plants are still a quite unexplored model in robotics and ICT technologies, as their sessile nature leads to think that they do not move. Instead, they move greatly, on a different time scale, purposively, effectively and efficiently. To move from one point to another, plants must grow and continuously adapt their body to the external environmental conditions. This continuous growth is particularly evident in climbing plants.
By imitating them, the GrowBot objective is to develop low-mass and low-volume robots capable of anchoring themselves, negotiating voids, and more generally climbing, where current climbing robots based on wheels, legs, or rails would get stuck or fall. Specifically, the ability to grow will be translated by additive manufacturing processes inside the robot, which creates its body by depositing new materials with multi-functional properties, on the basis of the perceived external stimuli (without a pre-defined design). Energy efficiency will be intrinsic to such approach, but novel bio-hybrid energy harvesting solutions will be also implemented to generate energy by interfacing soft technologies with real plants. Perception and behavior will be based on the adaptive strategies that allow climbing plants to explore the environment, described mathematically after experimental observations.
GrowBot would contribute to consolidate this ground-breaking and pioneering research area on plant-inspired robotics that, although still in its infancy, can represent a revolutionary approach in robotics, as it has already happened with plant-inspired solutions in material science. GrowBot is based on a strongly interdisciplinary character and can open the way for a new technological paradigm around the concept of growing robots, fostering a European innovation eco-system for several high-tech sectors.

Call for proposal

H2020-FETPROACT-2018-01
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Coordinator

FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA
Address
Via Morego 30
16163 Genova
Italy
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 1 507 583,75

Participants (8)

HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM HEREON GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 695 150
Address
Max Planck Strasse 1
21502 Geesthacht
Activity type
Research Organisations
TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Israel
EU contribution
€ 679 791,25
Address
Ramat Aviv
69978 Tel Aviv
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
GRAN SASSO SCIENCE INSTITUTE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 600 000
Address
Via Francesco Crispi 7
67100 L'aquila
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
SCUOLA SUPERIORE DI STUDI UNIVERSITARI E DI PERFEZIONAMENTO S ANNA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 715 000
Address
Piazza Martiri Della Liberta 33
56127 Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
ALBERT-LUDWIGS-UNIVERSITAET FREIBURG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 696 166,25
Address
Fahnenbergplatz
79098 Freiburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
LINARI ENGINEERING SRL
Italy
EU contribution
€ 703 291,25
Address
Via Umberto Forti 24/14
56121 Pisa
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
France
EU contribution
€ 700 500
Address
Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris
Activity type
Other
ARKYNE TECHNOLOGIES SL
Spain
EU contribution
€ 700 000
Address
Calle De La Tecnologia 17 - Edificio Canada Planta
08840 Barcelona
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)