EU_FIN_I-Seed_NP Distributed Environmental Monitoring Soft Robots (DTA.AD004.361)
Project areaOsservazione della Terra (DTA.AD004)
Structure responsible for the research project
I-Seed aims at developing a new generation of self-deployable and biodegradable soft miniaturized robots, inspired by the morphology and dispersion abilities of plant seeds, to perform a low-cost, environmentally responsible, in-situ detection of key environmental parameters in air and topsoil.
Following a bioinspired design, these skills will be implemented into seed-like robots by using multi-functional biodegradable materials and natural morphological features, which endow them with the ability to fly and disperse via natural vector-mediated diffusion in air, or to respond to humidity variations to move on terrain surface and self-penetrate in topsoil. Sensing will be based on diffusion, absorption, and structural changes of parts of the robots made from sensor materials with a chemical transduction mechanism and fluorescence-based optical readout. Recordings of temperature, humidity, CO2 and mercury (Hg2+) will be executed at air-soil interface. Deployment of the I-Seed robots and reading of the acquired measurements will be performed using drones. Seed-drone communication will rely on optical signaling and fluorescence based on Light Detection and Ranging technology (fLiDAR).
I-Seed will focus on three main objectives:
1) Scientific objectives: a focused biological investigation on the morphological and structural features of natural plant seeds relevant for the design of the robots.
2) Technological objectives: (i) to translate biological principles for designing and developing novel environmentally responsible seed-like soft robots; (ii) to advance in-situ sensing technology based on chemical transduction mechanisms; (iii) to develop new models for the motion of soft robotic systems; (iv) to advance remote sensing principles of integrated LiDAR, photogrammetry and georeferencing techniques; (v) to foster the spatial coverage of existing environmental monitoring networks; (vi) to propose solutions for energy saving sensors; (vii) to demonstrate the process between data gathering and knowledge generation for supporting decision-makers assessments.
3) Environmental sustainability and community building: (i) to fill the current gaps in geographical coverage of existing monitoring networks; (ii) to leverage the cross-disciplinary connection of the community of biorobotics and environmental science; (iii) to promote eco-innovation initiatives.
Start date of activity
Sensors, Robots, Mercury
Last update: 09/12/2023