Six-Legged Robot Helps a Plant Move to Get Sunlight


A self-made hexapod robot. / Photo by: Pranit Modak via Wikimedia Commons


Unlike many living things, plants do not move from their spot. Their leaves can shift toward the Sun and shoots can grow in a particular direction but they usually remain stationary. However, with HEXA, a plant may be able to walk in and out of the living room.

HEXA is a robotic product by Vincross, a company founded in 2014. The robot has six legs, a height of six inches, a width of 15.7 inches, and weighs about 3.86 pounds. The head part of the device can carry a load of up to 3.3 pounds. According to the official website, the robotic head can spin without limitations and each of its legs has three degrees of freedom for mobility.

For navigation purposes, HEXA uses its 720p camera equipped with night vision technology to see in darkness, an infrared transmitter, a dedicated sensor to determine distance, and an accelerometer to track its proper acceleration. It communicates via Wi-Fi connectivity and may even act as a Wi-Fi access point. These technical specifications were installed in a custom-made HEXA flower pot that moves by itself in direct sunlight, signals when it needs water, and dances to resemble the feeling of happiness.

"In 2014, I went to see a sunflower exhibition and found myself focused on a dead sunflower near a ground of blooms. The dead flower sat in a place that was always in a shadow...I thought if it could move a little bit, take a 30-feet walk out of the shadow to where the other sunflowers were, it would have lived healthily," said Sun Tianqi, a roboticist at Vincross, quoted Popular Mechanics.

The six-legged robot has a battery life of about four hours and can be charged wirelessly for two hours or 1.5 hours using an AC cable. It also has several external ports including ports of USB and audio input/output.