22 January 2020

Knobby Clubrush: Robotic Experiment

Visiting researcher Prof Marília Bergamo is currently working on a robotic version of Knobby Clubrush, a native plant of Australia, during her sabbatical at SensiLab. Also known as Finicia Nodosa, it is a rush with stems arising at 1 meter.

Although the field of plant behaviour and intelligence is still very contradicted in science, plants are considered ‘colony intelligence’ beings. Plants possess individual parts that are autonomous about decision making which leads the entire structure to change internal and external information with the environment and evolute. Plants are interesting examples of complex systems in nature, and Prof Bergamo is exploring the poetic potential that can arise from the simulation of complex systems in robotic structures.

To achieve her goals, she has been recreating the physical and behavioural characteristics of the plant, and implementing robotics versions of it. She’s analysing data which was captured by the robotic plants to demonstrate the potential of the robotic structure as a complex system.

Detailed structure of the robotic stems

In the technical-scientific domain, the ​​intelligence simulation of the complex is obtained by the development of artificial agents, and in the case of her research, each stem is treated as an agent. These structures of fabricated intelligence are like epistemic beings that were born within an intentional circumscribed action, a creative action. Created with individual purposes, artificial agents simulate and develop collective configurations that involve self-organization as a result of their interactions. In the field of poetics, these investigations with artificial agents also imply technical and cultural analyzes of artistic practices.

This research has a practical/theoretical structure, where the results of artistic experimentation will be simultaneously explored and published in philosophical discussions.