The robot is designed to be multipurpose, but Tianqi Sun, the CEO and inventor, decided to tweak the Hexa’s focus after noticing a sunflower that had withered and died after being stuck in a shady corner. As he explains on his blog, he realized that “Plants are passive. No matter if they are being cut, burned or pulled from the earth, they hold still and take whatever is happening to them. They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in nature.” That empathy for green life inspired Sun to plunk a plant on top of the Hexa and program it to be the plant’s caretaker. And boy, does it do a good job!
With six sturdy, flexible legs, the Hexa can move anywhere—in any direction and around any objects in its path. It’s even nimble enough to navigate unexpected drops, like if it had to suddenly step over a gap between two tabletops. It has a variety of “eyes,” including an infrared sensor, a distance sensor, and a 720p camera with night vision, which could be very handy if you want it to send it out like a guard dog at night, to go check on any sudden noises. It has a built-in WiFi as well as various ports (USB) to expand its many talents.
So sure, it’s not as cute as a garden gnome, but it can do a whole lot more for your plants than just stand there and look cute!
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