The tentacles of a sea anemone swaying on the ocean waves recall the image of a primitive organism. The Tentacle Flora project is an attempt to create a lifelike robotics sculpture with the mysterious sea anemone as its motif and is exploring what it means to feel alive.
What did you create?
The Tentacle Flora is a robotic sculpture inspired by a vision of a colony of the sea anemone growing on the coral. A shape-memory alloy actuator is used as tentacles and is composed of a BioMetal Fiber such that it can bend in three directions. The top of the actuator glows softly mimicking a bioluminescent organism using a full colored LED. The Tentacle Flora induces the beauty, wonder, and existence of living sea anemones in the depths of the ocean.
Why did you make it?
The tentacles of a sea anemone swaying in the ocean waves recall the image of a primitive organism. Among the studies published in Genome Research in 2014, it was found that sea anemones are genetically half plant and half animal . Their primitive mode of life that encompasses diversity amid a chaos that human beings cannot understand reflects a vitality and beauty. Tentacle Flora is a robotic sculpture created with the mysterious sea anemone as its motif. The Tentacle Flora project is an attempt to explore what it means to feel alive. Merely moving a mechanical structure comprising inorganic substances does not convey a sense of vitality. It is the delicate movement of the actuator and the gentle bioluminescence-like light at the tips of the tentacles that express a sense of living presence. Schwaiger, M., Schönauer, A., Rendeiro, A.F., Pribitzer,C., Schauer, A., Gilles, A.F., Schinko, J.B., Renfer, E., Fredman, D., and Technau, U. Evolutionary conservation of the eumetazoan gene regulatory landscape. In Genome Research. DOI: 10.1101/gr.162529.113 Moran, Y., Fredman, D., Praher, D., Li, X.Z., Wee, L.M., Rentzsch, F., Zamore, P.D., Technau, U., and Seitz, H. Cnidarian microRNAs frequently regulate their targets by cleavage. In Genome Research. DOI: 10.1101/gr.162503.113
How did you make it?
Tentacle Flora has 100 shape-memory alloy (SMA) actuators as tentacles. An SMA actuator is composed of a silicon tube, three BioMetal Fibers, a full-colored LED chip and a diffuser cap. A BioMetal Fiber, a thin SMA wire, contracts when heated and expands to its original length by cooling. An SMA actuator is actuated by three BioMetal Fibers and can bend in six directions by the combination of three pulse-width modulation (PWM) control currents. Furthermore, the Tentacle Flora system makes it possible to precisely control a large number of actuators using a distributed processing system that utilizes one microcontroller per actuator.