Robot dares you to snatch the pebble from this flower

This pleasant-looking plant may try to take your hand off if you’re not careful. The robot flower (translated) includes sensors that cause the petals to move in reaction to external stimuli.

You can just make out the distance sensors as black rectangles on two of the petals. These let the flower track an object by rotating the flower stem. But if they determine the object is getting a bit too close for comfort, the servo motor on the back of each petal will cause the flower to suddenly clamp shut.

The video after the break starts off with an in-depth look at the hardware that went into the project. An Arduino clone called the GRoboduino makes this project a lot easier since it has a bunch of extras on the board aimed at things like sensors and servo motors. The mounting technique for the petal-powering-servos is quite attractive, and we enjoy the Snapple lid (probably not the actual brand but you get the picture) which has been coated with yellow felt for the center of the bloom. The final look is normal enough to fit in with home decor, but it still has enough geek in it to melt our hacker hearts.

[via Make]


  1. CG says:

    Probably beatable with a vacuum cleaner w/ hose attachment.

  2. Wretch says:

    The petals’ edges need to be sharpened and shaped so that they can close tight.


  3. PatrikD says:

    Feeed me, Seymour!

  4. BobSmith says:

    I would buy this if it were a product for sale, and leave it on when people came over, with no explanation.

    • Chris C. says:

      Heh, that sounds fun. I’d have to replace the pebble with a piece of candy, and paint a dab of fake blood on the petal tips; just to make it more attractive/repulsive.

  5. karl says:

    Reminds me of the sunflowers from Larry Niven’s Ringworld.

  6. medix says:

    This concept was originally developed at CMU using a kit known as the TeRK (based off of a controller called the QWERK from Charmed Labs). Interesting to see it here again..

  7. Nuno.S.Almeida says:

    Couldn’t you make this with only one fast servo that would pull them down and close all the petals, like a lever?

    • N0LKK says:

      Similar to what entered my mind. Using cables connected to a solenoid in the base might make for faster action. I’d also create a random time delay to catch people off guard

  8. ameyring says:

    I think it would be more efficient to have the petals mounted on the servo horns, not the servo bodies, to minimize strain on the servos. Otherwise, cool project!

  9. soopergooman says:

    How much $? I want one.

  10. Hirudinea says:

    So if I grab the pebble am I a ninja? It also needs electrified petals.

  11. Coda says:

    How about using a single cheap solenoid, rather than 6 relatively expensive servos?

    In fact, with a solenoid you wouldn’t even need the arduino, just a simple analog circuit.

  12. Vonskippy says:

    If you found that video “exciting” here’s another one.

  13. Tjoppen says:

    “Go ahead.. take it from me.”

  14. justice099 says:

    As others have noted… seems rather silly to have used a separate servo to articulate each petal when the motion is a discrete opened/closed. Now, it each individual petal responded separately…

    Also, if you noticed the reaction time in the video, you would see that noone would have any problem grabbing the pebble before the thing snapped shut. The guy literally had to hold his hand there for a second before the thing responded.

    Nice craftmanship, though.

  15. Christopher Osborn says:

    love the flower… kind of looks painful if it actually catches your hand..

  16. nxpguy says:

    who said greeks were broke ?

  17. anglophony says:


    or Broken ?

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