Research Topic

Generation GrowBots: Materials, Mechanisms, and Biomimetic Design for Growing Robots

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About this Research Topic

This Research Topic gathers the contributions presented at the 2019 Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) workshop “Generation GrowBots”, on June 22, 2019 in Freiburg, Germany.

The event brings together a ...

This Research Topic gathers the contributions presented at the 2019 Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) workshop “Generation GrowBots”, on June 22, 2019 in Freiburg, Germany.

The event brings together a multi-disciplinary panel of scientists and engineers, including experts in material science, soft robotics, plant biology, and architecture to present new scientific discoveries on plants and technological advances relevant to continuum, soft, adaptable, and growing robots. Trends, frontiers and potential applications for a variety of high-tech sectors are discussed, including future urban and architectural innovations, clean-energy forms and sustainable robotics ecosystems.
Contributors who did not have the opportunity to present at the workshop, but would like to make a contribution within the scope of the topic described below, are welcome to participate.

“Generation GrowBots” discusses the science and technologies of the new field of plant-inspired robotics and growing robotics, exploring the materials, mechanisms and behavioral strategies at the basis of a new paradigm for robot mobility inspired by the moving-by-growing ability of plants. Plants show unique capabilities of endurance and movement by growth. Growth allows plants to strongly adapt the body morphology to different environmental conditions, and to move in search for nutrients and light or for protection from harmful agents. Because of these features, together with plant biologists and materials scientists, engineers are deeply investigating the biomechanics, materials, energy efficiency mechanisms, and behavior of a variety of plant species, to take inspiration for the design of multi-functional and adaptable technologies, and for the development of a new class of low-mass, low-volume robots endowed with new and unprecedented abilities of movement. With their capability to better challenge unstructured and extreme environments, soft, self-morphing, growing machines will have potential applications in a variety of sectors, including the exploration and monitoring of archeological sites, unknown/challenging terrestrial or extra-terrestrial areas, as well as novel technological systems for the advancement of future urban architectures.

The Research Topic “Generation GrowBots” aims to collect the most recent research advancements related to plant-inspired technologies and self-morphing, soft/continuum, growing robots, including:

• Plant materials and mechanisms as models for robotics and building construction
• Plant biomechanics and structural architecture
• Climbing plants behavior
• Moving-by-growing paradigm for robotics
• Novel methodologies for analysis and study in natural environments
• Plant-inspired continuum robots
• Morphological computation, perception and interaction
• Bio-inspired robotic construction
• Living architecture design


Keywords: Growing Robotics, Soft Robotics, Bioinspired Robotics, Biomimetic Architecture, Plant Biology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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