Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
This paper presents the critical design research project Plant- Like Robots, which explores a non-anthropocentric approach to human-robot interaction by imagining robots that have the form and natural function of seeds of plants. Adopting the lens of plant intelligence, the project investigates a possible design for a robot that interacts with a broad spectrum of its surroundings and uses humans as its vehicle. Through a series of short experiments based on a thinking-through-making process, plant-seed characteristics are reinterpreted as the robot’s features. The robots proposed in this work are dispersed through the environment by using their barbs and magnetism to cling to humans, animals and objects. Moving together with their dispersers, they collect the environmental data and map it based on their geolocation. With reference to plants’ adhesive dispersal mechanism and sensing capability, the project attempts to envision plant like robots in reality and provoke a discussion about the dispersal of these robots in a city. The recent research outputs consist of a film, a 3D simulation and tangible prop robot artefacts that were produced in the practice. These will allow audiences to imagine plant-like robots that avoid human-centred ways of thinking.