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Towards a new generation of plant-inspired growing artefacts

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.
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Coordinator

FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA

Address

Via Morego 30
16163 Genova

Italy

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 507 583,75

Participants (8)

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HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM GEESTHACHT ZENTRUM FUR MATERIAL- UND KUSTENFORSCHUNG GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 695 150

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 679 791,25

GRAN SASSO SCIENCE INSTITUTE

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 600 000

SCUOLA SUPERIORE DI STUDI UNIVERSITARI E DI PERFEZIONAMENTO SANT'ANNA

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 715 000

ALBERT-LUDWIGS-UNIVERSITAET FREIBURG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 696 166,25

LINARI ENGINEERING SRL

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 703 291,25

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France

EU Contribution

€ 700 500

ARKYNE TECHNOLOGIES SL

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 700 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 824074

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2019

  • End date

    31 December 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.2.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 6 997 482,50

  • EU contribution

    € 6 997 482,50

Coordinated by:

FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA

Italy