first_imgWe don’t all have that parental instinct required to keep house plants alive (my windowsill cactus has been shriveling up for months).Green thumbs be damned, though: Citizen Scientific Workshop (CSW) is crowdfunding the production of 100 Plantoid Robotics kits.The plant-brained cyborgs (essentially weeds on wheels) gravitate toward fresh air, water, and sunlight—ideal for the accidental plant killer in your life.Or, according to creator David Ultis’s vision, for “first-time robot builders of all ages.”“I came up with the concept for Plantoids when I noticed a lot of educational robotics kits taught very similar lessons,” Citizen Scientific Workshop President Ultis said in a statement.But the abstract models never expanded beyond artificial logic or intelligence, denying a level of connection between human and machine.“I wanted to incorporate something real and alive into a robot in order to affect its motivations and behaviors,” Ultis continued. “Now the plant organism’s life is elevated by abilities it never had before by being incorporated into a robot.”Only 16 days left in the all-or-nothing campaign (via Citizen Scientific Workshop)The key, according to CSW’s Kickstarter campaign, is using sensors and data to “expand and support the survival of the plant specimen.”Each kit comes with an Arduino-based microcontroller and sensor pack for determining soil moisture, air temperature and humidity, ambient light, and air quality.Designed for indoor and (some) outdoor terrain, the robot—shipping with tractor-wheel and treads kits—can communicate its current condition or sound an alarm using built-in LEDs and speaker.The DIY pack also includes a terrarium, live carnivorous plant specimen, and 3D-printed parts for at-home construction of your own roving Plantoid.CSW has so far collected more than $2,000 from 35 backers. But with 16 days left in its campaign, the organization is still chasing its $5,000 all-or-nothing goal.A full Plantoid robot kit, expected for global delivery in February, is available at an early-bird price of $64, or $139 for a two-pack.Supporters can also “adopt a garden” by pledging $389 or more: Choose a local botanical or community garden to receive six Plantoid kids and host a workshop. (Oh, and you get a laser-cut keychain and handwritten “thank you” card.)“With Plantoid Robots, we are bringing new educational activities to homes, classrooms, and gardens across the world,” the project page said. “The key is science, and through all experiments in science, something can be learned.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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