Living

Robots, plants team up to make humans fall flat on their faces

It all started so innocently. (Image by pasukaru76.)

Sculptor Stephen Verstraete has come up with a clever tool to help plants achieve the best out of life: He has given them robot allies that they can ride around on, seeking out the best possible patches of sunlight in the house. It’s like Master Blaster, but a plant and a robot.

Now, I am all for plants enjoying the sun. But I see this invention bringing conflict to otherwise happy homes. Because by making plants mobile, you make them the natural enemies of a) humans and b) cats.

The human v. plant conflict is simple: As the plants travel across the floor to different spots, humans will forget where they are, trip over them, and fall on their faces. In the process, they will either break the plant pots or get annoyed enough at the plants that they will throw them out.

The cat v. plant conflict I imagine would play out in a more dramatic, death-match style. Verstraete, I imagine, does not have cats. Otherwise, he would know that they have a tendency to eat houseplants. Also, that they are light-seeking machines. Also that they are demonstrably weird about small domestic robots running around the house. You think Mr. Whiskers is going to be cool with a house plant occupying his favorite spot on the floor, where the afternoon sun hits just right, and it’s so warm and full of kitty bliss? No. He will knock it over, eat that plant, and then ride around on the robot all day. Or get scared of it when it moves and run and hide under the bed forever.