Hexa: The Plant That Became a Six-Legged Robot To Chase the Sun

Plants need light to grow. If a flower is in the home, it does not always get enough sun. This is where the robot called HEXA from Sun Tianqi comes in. This unique robot is tasked with looking after the succulent on its back, chasing the sunlight as needed, moving to the shade when it’s had enough and doing a little angry dance when it needs water.

If people make use of means of transportation, why should not plants? Inspiration was a sunflower that died in the shade. Only 10 meters away, there would have been enough light and she probably would have survived.

“With a robotic rover base, plants can experience mobility and interaction,” writes Tianqi. “I do hope that this project can bring some inspiration to the relationship between technology and natural default settings.”

It is agile, smart and compact and makes sure that your plant is supplied with enough light and water. The little robot looks like a spider, but only crawls around on six rather than eight legs. According to the manufacturer Vincross, it can carry plants up to 1,5 kilograms – while the robot weighs just 1,8 kilograms. When tapping against the tank, it plays with humans by bending his artificial legs and placing them in the outstretched palms of his hands. The robot is 15 centimeters high and about 40 centimeters wide.

HEXA, which is developed by tianqi’s robotics company vincross, is equipped with infrared and a 720p camera with nightvision. Aach leg is equipped with three motors and the robo-plant hybrid has 19 servos overall. The build is custom, with a unique dual-layer ‘flower pot’ replacing HEXA’s plastic shell.

“Plants are passive. Eternally, inexplicably passive. No matter if they are being cut, bitten, burned or pulled from the earth, or when they lack sunshine, water, or are too hot or cold, they will hold still and take whatever is happening to them. They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in nature. this is simply the default setting that nature gives to plants,” Tianqi explains.

It’s a beautiful little mod, one that raises all sorts of imaginative possibilities.