Pioneer research project on robot-plants receives EU funding

Date
21.01.2015
Category
Research and Innovation

What do plants and robots have to do with architecture? This question will be addressed by a group of international scholars in the research project ‘Flora Robotica: Societies of Symbiotic Robot-Plant Bio-Hybrids as Social Architectural Artefacts’. KADK is participating in the project with Associate Professor Phil Ayres from CITA (Center for IT and Architecture), Institute of Architecture and Technology.

This project will help us develop architectural insights for designing spaces and systems that are in perpetual growth and exhibiting continual change across a range of spatial and temporal scales”.
Phil Ayres, Associate Professor and responsible for the architectural part of the project

“This project presents a significant opportunity to advance understanding and enrich architectural practices of representation and construction, which are conventionally concerned with the design and production of ‘end-points’. This project will help us develop architectural insights for designing spaces and systems that are in perpetual growth and exhibiting continual change across a range of spatial and temporal scales” says Phil Ayres, who will be responsible for the architectural part of the project in close collaboration with a yet to be recruited PhD and postdoctoral researcher.

One of the aims of the project is to develop architectural scenarios that exploit the full ‘growth career’ of a plant-robot hybrid, for example, starting as an environmental sensor when the plants are small, and supplementing this function with that of a bench when they grow bigger, and perhaps to a primary structural element when the plants are at their greatest.

Pioneering research
The project is funded by EU’s framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 under the subprogramme Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), which supports pioneering research including high risk and high degree of interdisciplinarity. The EU supports the project with approx. 3.6 M euro, of which 0.6 M euro goes to KADK.

The Flora Robotica research group comprises German computer scientists from University of Paderborn; robotics researchers from IT University of Copenhagen; molecular and cellular biologists from Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland; experts in mechatronics and plant sensing from the German company Cybertronica; Austrian zoologists from and University of Graz – and of course the architects from KADK. The project starts in April 2015 and runs for four years.

Open PhD position 
An announcement for the project’s PhD position can be found here:
https://delta.hr-manager.net/ApplicationInit.aspx?cid=5001&ProjectId=81628&DepartmentId=7810&MediaId=5