≡ Menu

The Succulent Spiders from the Uncanny Valley

“When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology,

let’s share some of technology with plants…”

Okay, now, for the first time, the robots among us have morphed from Roomba to Creepy.

Much creepier because of their efforts to seem “cute.”

Remaking “Sharing Human Technology with Plants” with HEXA – General Discussion – Vincross Forum

The original idea of the project came from a dead sunflower. In 2014, I went to see a sunflower exhibition, and found myself focused on a dead sunflower near a ground of blooms. The dead flower sat in a place that was always in a shadow. I had no idea how it ended up there or why it died – whether it was because of the lack of sunshine or water – but it was just there, and it was dead. I thought, if it could move a little bit, take a 30-feet walk out of the shadow to where the other sunflowers were, it would have lived healthily. But it didn’t.

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.

Each life has its own default settings, including human beings. We humans are not built to go to the depths of the ocean to explore its wonder; nor are we meant to fly to the skies to have the clouds beneath our feet. We’re not meant to land on the moon to view the blue planet. For millions of years, humans have been following their settings, and it’s not until the last century that we started to break those laws. We invented submarines, airplanes, and the Apollo Program, essentially helping us to break our default settings.

However, for billions of years, plants have never experienced movement of any kind, not even the simplest movement. Their whole lives, they stick to where they were born. Do they desire to break their own settings or have a tendency towards this? If human beings always try to break the settings with technology, how about plants? I do not know the answer, but I would love to try to share some of this human tendency and technology with plants. With a robotic rover base, plants can experience mobility and interaction. I do hope that this project can bring some inspiration to the relationship between technology and natural default settings.

In remaking the project, I didn’t create a special new base but just used a standard Vincross HEXA instead. I built a dual-layer “flowerpot,” which replaced HEXA’s shell. And to honor the original project, the main body of the plant was still Echeveria ‘Hakuhou.’

Would the plant like it, I mean, the feeling of being an animal? I have no idea. But I want to let it have the experience. When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology, let’s share some of technology with plants, let them at least experience what it is like to experience the simplest of motions.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn July 18, 2018, 4:33 AM

    Rod Serling. Paging Mr. Rod Serling…

  • Former Lurker July 18, 2018, 5:42 AM

    Coming soon: Ents!

  • Mike Anderson July 18, 2018, 6:26 AM

    I can see it now: you head on down to poolside at your favorite resort, and all the good sunbathing spots have been gobbled up by the landscaping plants. When you complain to management, they resignedly respond “Can’t move ’em. It’s in their contract.”

  • jwm July 18, 2018, 6:55 AM

    “Would the plant like it, I mean, the feeling of being an animal? I have no idea. But I want to let it have the experience. ”
    This is what happens when you ditch botany class to get stoned.


  • Jack July 18, 2018, 8:29 AM

    Plants, according to the tree huggers that like to meet deep in the woods and cry on their behalf, know everything that goes on and they are voiceless to protest. That’s a wild idea but some humans believe it without hesitation.

    My wife loves plants and my yard reflects it but with the established plants come their own brand of illegal aliens…weeds of every size, shape, color and description and their sole purpose is to jump the borders and thwart the effects of Roundup and constant uprooting so that they can take over the beds of others.

    It’s a constant fight I’ll tell ya and as I gaze out at my wife’s work I see the blooms of youthful plants being obliterated by these weed invaders. I guess I should call a mesican yard crew to get in here and save us.

  • ghostsniper July 18, 2018, 8:34 AM

    “…plants have never experienced movement of any kind…”
    The Venus Flytrap sitting on our front porch table with a bee in one of it’s yaps would argue with that, but it has a fatal lisp right now and refuses to speak until digestion is complete. It will go dormant in early Dec so it is imperative to consume as much as possible while the sun is shining, as they say, to make it through the long winter. So don’t let your kids wander too close, K?

  • Monty James July 18, 2018, 9:26 AM

    Tianqi, the creator of this abomination, seems to possess the kind of intelligence that thinks, “You know, the only thing wrong with John Wyndham’s ‘Day of the Triffids’ is that it’s not getting here fast enough.”

  • Dr. Jay July 18, 2018, 9:38 AM

    I have to admit that these guys are pretty smart. Creepy, yes. But smart. I’m still trying to figure out “How many roads must a man walk down?”

  • Charles R Harris July 18, 2018, 10:07 AM

    Weinstein wants one of those.

  • scory July 18, 2018, 10:23 AM

    If I ran into one of these in low light or was taken by surprise my first impulse would be to grab a shovel and smash it or maybe stomp on it just as I would any randomly encountered vermin. I don’t like bugs and especially don’t like spider-like creatures such as this thing. Though a few of these properly decorated and strategically placed would be great at Halloween parties.

  • R Daneel July 18, 2018, 10:40 AM

    That reads like something from The Onion.

  • Charles R Harris July 18, 2018, 3:25 PM

    Lot of hexapod robots out there. This one looks pretty much like hexa, $949 without wireless charger.

  • PA Cat July 18, 2018, 3:38 PM

    If you plant fresh catnip in the flowerpot, the hexapod would make a great cat toy.

  • Charles R Harris July 18, 2018, 3:57 PM

    And hexa comes with night vision! Oh yes, this perky companion has lots of possible uses.

  • Howard Nelson July 18, 2018, 4:58 PM

    ** plant movement **
    How about place-to-place movement of tumbleweeds and seaweeds?
    How about plants ‘choosing’ to move via their progeny, seeds? Fruit trees, pine trees, … use their ‘Uber’ assistants, birds, and land mammals to pickup and drop off seeds.
    Please show proper gratitude to oxygen producing plants; they deserve you turning your nose up for. Most of them know their proper place and many are rooting for us.

  • PA Cat July 18, 2018, 5:27 PM

    “How about plants ‘choosing’ to move via their progeny”
    I guess that means that “invasive species” (per the USDA) are now “undocumented” or “migrant” botanicals.

  • Aggie July 18, 2018, 7:40 PM

    Day of the Triffids, dude. As the prophesy has foretold. Be very afraid.