Plant fasting: robotic gardening

This art display system was created by [Peter Sand]. It is called Plant Fasting and is comprised of a giant robot with interchangeable tools for various gardening tasks. Though the system is mostly automated, it can be controlled via a game pad. It has an Arduino as its brain and it looks like he’s done a completely custom setup for powering the interchangeable pieces.

Comments

  1. Todd S. says:

    Nice display, but the woman asking the questions is ANNOYING! She asks “is it automated?” – now, what kind of question is that? She’s the reason I did not watch the entire video.

  2. ladyada says:

    todd, sorry to hear you found me annoying. but actually the question “is it automated?” is a pretty good one because it -isnt-. peter controls the robot with a joystick to do the planting, watering, etc. something that is not obvious at all from cursory examination and certainly not from the video.

  3. Caleb Kraft says:

    I felt that her question was a good one. I’m still not clear on how much is autonomous. Based off of his hesitant response, I’d say not much.

  4. ladyada says:

    caleb, the robot is ‘open loop’ controlled with a game controller connected to a computer that translates the buttons into gantry movements and relay actuation.
    there is no feedback in the robot (yet!) and it doesnt really know ‘where it is’ or ‘what its doing’. there are ‘scripts’ that do such things as ‘travel for 20 seconds, opening the water relay every 5 seconds for 1 second’ but for changing the attachments and more precise work, it is controlled by hand
    peter is working on adding encoders, sensors & other feedback mechanisms to allow it to be more fully automated.

  5. rasz says:

    its not a robot, robots are entities that decide for themselves
    its a remote controller ‘grab a tool’ thingie

    I think its just an art instalation so you cant really demand too much.

  6. Chemik says:

    “It’s just… ummm… So… ummm”

    Not so sure about the 120v AC, while on a relay, out in the open on the lift plate. Besides, that is a lot of voltage and current potential for a seed planter/water squirter…

  7. Chris says:

    Erm yeh erm its erm a robotic erm non-robot erm thing right? Erm ive confused myself now!

  8. andrew says:

    This project is cool and has plenty of potential. The scale of the space in which it can move is pretty big compared to most cnc stuff we see here. I supposed you would need something at least that size if you were even semi-serious about automated plant-tending (or whatever you call it).

    120v ac caused me to raise an eyebrow too but, as someone here once said, it’s not exactly wizard’s fire.

  9. Humansimulator says:

    I had no problem with the questions in this video. It was the presenter I wasn’t a big fan of. Hardly any details were given and questions were stepped around or end up getting forgotten to ADD moments (“That’s how it picks things up”) I could do with a little more substance in the video. Going to hit up the link and hope for more/better details.

  10. tom says:

    does it twit when the pot plants are ready? no? bah.

  11. barry99705 says:

    Okay, so what exactly does it do? from the video it doesn’t do anything but move around.

  12. entropia says:

    “so, um… ah, umm, sorta”.

    What a useless video, didn’t really get any usefull info about the system whatsoever.

  13. rasz says:

    what part of “art display system” dont you get people? its not supposed to do anything :)

  14. uncivlengr says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s “fast planting” – not just because that’s what it’s titled in the video itself, but because “plant fasting” doesn’t make any sense.

  15. Brad says:

    I assume its called plant fasting because the machine doesnt work very well yet. many of the plants die of starvation!

  16. nubie says:

    I don’t have sound, so the video didn’t bug me.

    I wonder if you would have the plants on wheels, or maybe that whole gantry on rubber tires moving from section to section on its own?

    Cool anyway, I need one that can travel from room to room in my house via special tunnels in the ceiling, then I control it with VR from my wearable PC :)

    Did anybody see the episode of Psych where he got funding for the food trolley? I think it was the one with the bank robbery.

  17. nubie says:

    Ach, forgot to mention, now people bedridden or with other infirmities can enjoy growing plants.

    It is very therapeutic to grow things, and nearly impossible for some people without control of their limbs.

  18. Mike says:

    umm, ar umm, gorund.. 5v,, armm.. theres well,UMM!!, ‘so cute’ ummm..

  19. While it’s not a revolutionary design, it does have great potential for automating a home garden. A garden in your home which requires nearly no maintenance would be awesome.

  20. ragnar says:

    ladyada, you asked the questions non tech savvy people would ask and be interested in, so well done. Just the “answers” were, um, err, em, unprepared and borderline useless? All the voltages, of no use to nobugger, a techie would know anyways, a non-techie wouldn’t care. This system demands a bit of a better description, it rocks, so I’d do another interview.

  21. Ideloxost says:

    Now i want to see more arduinos
    1 for controling the controler and 1 for doing all the controling of the arduinos.

    they are fun and now i’m back to program an arduino to let him do nothing.

  22. strider_mt2k says:

    bruce dern has been notified.

    can it play cards?

  23. roparom says:

    anybody else thing the guy in this video sounds a lot like robert downey jr?

  24. Todd S. says:

    Good one strider_mt2k!!! I completely missed the Silent Running connection.

  25. ladyada says:

    i talked to peter for about an hour about his system so i understand it pretty well. its the most advanced and well-made DIY robot i’ve ever seen (second to Absolutemachines). the video was just a 90 second clip phil shot while i was talking to peter, it wasnt staged or prepped and we didnt even know it was being filmed.

    so if someone here had a technical question, id be able answer it. you could even email peter and i’m sure he’d be happy to share how he built a 10×2′ steel xy gantry using bike chain, laser-cut MDF, windshieldwiper motors and trashfound parts.

    but teasing peter because he’s a shy (but brilliant!) roboticist is really immature and i’m really disappointed in both hack-a-day and the site moderators. whats next? making fun of people because of the way they look? stop pissing on everything, and start asking detailed technical questions. you’ll find people more willing to share what they know.

  26. Jay says:

    Chemik, I’m right there with you.

    “ummmm”

  27. Concino says:

    and she says “It’s cute!” :)

    Despite the annoying questions and comments of the chick, this is the most useless demo I’ve ever seen. It does not show what the robot does. He goes “Yeah we have relays, arduino, 24V relays here, some more stuff here”
    Dude we know you have relays, controllers, actuators, what does the damn thing do man?

  28. pt says:

    when you call someone a “chick” or “annoying” or go for personal attacks you’re really damaging the community here – everyone potentially has access to some very talented engineers and hackers, but i don’t think you’re going to see them comment on hackaday or enjoy having their projects featured any longer.

    if i were a moderator i’d jump in and help make the conversations more constructive – it’s a shame, i started this site and the comments are comparable to digg and slashdot. so for the most part, this all pretty toxic, sad and for the regulars here that have brought the site down… it’s never too late to change for the better, but it will take a lot of work if you’d like to make the site the best it could be.

    disclosure: i shot the 90 second video so it would fit on flickr – the photos and the post on adafruit talk more about the project. peter will have some other items including longer videos soon too. i was the founder of hackaday – now senior editor at MAKE and work with adafruit (ladyada) on projects…

  29. Todd S. says:

    OK, I *LOVE* Hackaday, and the way I see the site is that it’s a competitive medium where projects are striving to be announced. That’s why I had problems with the presentation – I simply expect more from a project featured at Hackaday and expect the site staff to filter out work that is not yet ready for prime time, or get them to improve their presentations so that they won’t be ridiculed by a sharp audience who don’t tolerate the less than polished projects.

    I think the regulars here feel that any project featured here is fair game for critique in both technical aspects and for PRESENTATION.

  30. jimslippper says:

    aaaaaaaauummmmmmmm…….

  31. pt says:

    @todd – in your own words…

    “the woman asking the questions is ANNOYING!”

    ladyada, engineer…

    “She asks “is it automated?” – now, what kind of question is that? She’s the reason I did not watch the entire video.”

    perhaps the most asked question while i was there filming it as others stopped in…

    but just to recap, you didn’t watch the video, follow the links or do anything at all to better understand the project yet you demand the hackaday team to only have polished projects here? perhaps things changed from when i started the site, but the point is to -not- have polished projects… for that, check out the iphone or the latest gadget from sony, those are pretty polished… “fair game” indeed…

  32. Bushi says:

    I knew just from watching the video that was Ladyada! I found nothing wrong with the questions asked in the video. It’s pretty stupid that there is some serious dialogue going on here and yet people are still posting comments making fun of the speaker in the video.

    While I don’t agree with the people making comments about the people in the video, I can see where they are coming from. As you said he didn’t know he was being filmed so that could explain the sparse details. I’m sure if he did a formal presentation it would be much better.

    I for one would like to apologize on behalf of hackaday commentors. Recently they have gone downhill but I hope great minds do not stray away from the site because of the opinion of a small few. There are many more, less vocal people, that enjoy the site and it’s contributors.

  33. Todd S. says:

    @pt, i am sorry, it seems i have offended you and ladyada. however, i was being the devil’s advocate in that, yes, the site may have matured since it was started, and that people do and will expect more. if the site did not mature, there would be no progress. also, you chose to disregard my direct and indirect compliments for hackaday – i mentioned that i love the site. it is permanently bookmarked on my iGoogle home page, and i have learned a tremendous amount from it. if not else, it gives a person confidence that anyone can build sophisticated applications.

  34. sol says:

    wonderful project. It never ceases to amaze me what people complain about in these forums. get your snarky comments out of the way on fark or someplace and then come back here for actual discussion, you naysayers.

  35. pt says:

    @todd s. i don’t think it’s possible to offend ladyada or myself.

    i’m sure the commenters on digg and slashdot “love” their sites too, but that doesn’t mean the comments are constructive or in any way encouraging.

    so consider my comments feedback on your feedback.

  36. Todd S. says:

    @pt: i have never used digg, and i have read slashdot a few times at most, i have never registered there. so i am really not familiar w/ those sites. however, thanks for your feedback, will keep it in mind.

  37. tom says:

    When it flashes at the very end just before she says “it is so cute” what is it doing?

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