Robot Garden

From teamLab in Tokyo, “Floating Flowers Garden“: an indoor garden, mechanized so the dangling flowers move out of the way of people walking through.

With a large, dense planting, the visitor experiences the pleasure of walking right in to a wall of flowers, which form a sphere around her as she walks.

This adds movement to the garden’s sights and scents, in fact, a coordinated choreography. As their write up suggests, the flowers can “see” you.

This is pretty cool, in its way.

I have to think that much will depend on the timing of the reactions. The video shows the people moving very slowly and steadily, and the garden reacts smoothly to their movements. But what would the garden if I ran through the space? Or stand still for 15 minutes? I suspect that the sensors and algorithms may be quite limited, and would jerk or fail to move. This would be unpleasant.

One can also ask whether this is a good idea esthetically. Gardens are generally very “slow” places, refuges from complex interactions. Is it beneficial for the garden to be more complex? And wouldn’t you want the plants to come to you rather than run away?

Finally, I have to note that this “innovation” is simple and hardly original. Just last week I commented on Shylight, which is the same “avoidance” concept (and even uses the same theatrical rigging). This effect is really actually trivial, basically detect-and-maintain-distance. A pretty stupid dance, when you think about it.

We need to raise the bar, and start demanding much more interesting dances. (E.g., drone dance.) 

Robot Wednesday

2 thoughts on “Robot Garden”

  1. I suspect the same floral “high” must have occurred whenever Claude Monet set up his easel to paint water lilies in his Givenchy garden. Whatever one’s belief system may be, such scenes bring out the pantheistic oneness of humanity and nature.


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