Petty Objects II – Plantroid


Plantroid is augmented interactive plant pet developed for indoor environments. It is inspired by the the fictional scenario of artificial pets based in epidermits (as proposed by Stuart Karten) in Antonelli’s story “The Design Doyenne Defeats the Dullness”. Its basic setup consists of a living plant that is augmented by a robotic shell. The shell can sense the plants needs (moisture , sun , nutrient levels) and enable communication between the human owner and the plant. The Plantroid autonomously navigates around the house of its owner seeking areas with sunlight to perch in . They are low maintenance pets, seeking the owner’s attention when they need water or nutrients. They have artificial behaviors encoded in their interaction with the human owner such as swirling around with joy when they get the owners attention , or using social media to communicate their needs to the owner.


I developed a quick prototype ( the ‘deadliest’ weapon in a designers toolkit to paraphrase Antonelleii :)) and developed a light seeking robotic chassis on which a plant pod is mounted . Integrating a plant -need sensor into the equation now ( soil moisture , lux levels etc)

“The story”
The day the plants walked away

Cloris was anxious . Flora had now been missing since 48 hours. Her parents had informed the CAIO unit. The ‘counter artificially intelligent objects’ unit or ‘kai-O’ as they were called was an elite paramilitary unit trained to detect and capture rogue AI objects . What happened to the captured AI objects was unknown. Some say there was a massive Kai-O facility in New Mexico where these objects were studied. Some objects remained untraceable. Cloris hoped that Flora would not get into the hands of the CAIO unit. Flora had last got in touch with Cloris on her Mind Dust feed yesterday. Apart from her usual banter about how she was feeling thirty and needed watering , she had also mentioned a message from another epidermits pet . Cloris has assumed it to be another epidermits spam , where spammers to avoid spam filters, sent indirect spam messages to people through their personal iot stuff . She had tried checking Flora’s mind Dust feed but the message was nowhere to be found. Cloris had heard from her friend at school that there had been other incidents of epidermits plant walking away due to a bug in their operating system that made the plants leave their owners and go towards a unknown destination . Inspector Smith had streamed in at the scene and talked with Cloris’s parents an hour back . He had mentioned that the bug was because of a rouge AI that had infected Flosan’s servers . Flosan the company that had patented plant-epidermits in was working with a special unit of Kai-O . Cloris seemed to even more troubled now as she sensed something in the way that Inspector Smith described this event. He seemed to be desperately trying to underplay this bug as somthing ‘routine’. It was dark outside . Cloris peeped outside of the window half expecting Flora to be waiting at the porch. She saw lights . The lights were same as those from Flora’s eye sockets . But there were hundreds of them . All of them seemed to be heading somewhere . Something was wrong. Something big was happening.