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WP1 - Management

WP1 - Management

This WP aims at guaranteeing the smooth coordination of the research activities carried out by the different partners towards the objectives of the project, in accordance with the proposed work plan. It is the objective of this WP the reporting to EC, both for the scientific, the administrative and financial matters. This WP is also aimed at managing possible conflicts or deviations from the work plan.

Partners involved

Partner logos

Tasks

  • Task 1.1: Scientific and Technical Management

    IIT logo
    1
    START MONTH
    54
    END MONTH

    The following activities will be carried out: contacts with the Commission; organising technical review meetings at WP level; creating and managing technical reports; promoting technical follow-up of the project; establishing assessment of progress results of the project at each important phase and milestone; promoting IPR protection of the results coming from the project; periodic evaluation of results at WP level and at SMB level; analysis of the dissemination and training actions carried out at each phase of the project; setting-up SMB, the IPR Responsible, AB, and their rules of operation; organizing plenary project meetings and the kick-off meeting.

  • Task 1.2: Administrative and financial management

    IIT logo
    1
    START MONTH
    54
    END MONTH

    The following subjects will be covered: contacts with the Commission; carrying-out overall legal administrative activities; contractual, financial, administrative and ethical management of the consortium; drawing up and maintaining the Consortium Agreement; generating the financial statements; coordinating audit certificates; solving knowledge management conflicts (IPRs, dissemination, patenting, etc.).

  • Task 1.3: Data Management Plan

    IIT logo
    1
    START MONTH
    54
    END MONTH

    This task will manage all data generated within the project, defining a balanced strategy between open dissemination of results for maximising access to and re-use of data on one side, and protection of results for future market exploitation and patenting. GrowBot participates in the Open Research Data Pilot. A first Data Management Plan will be produced at M6.The report will be updated periodically (M12, M30, M48).

Gallery

  • Welcome to the GrowBot's kick-off meeting in Pisa (Italy)

    Im 1

  • Barbara Mazzolai (GrowBot project coordinator) makes an introduction to the project

    Im 2

  • Group picture at the GrowBot kick-off meeting

    Im 3

  • Welcome to the tutorial meeting in Tel Aviv (Israel)

    Im 4

  • Group picture at the GrowBot tutorial meeting

    Im 5

  • GrowBot project meeting in L'Aquila (Italy)

    Im 6

  • GrowBot bag and pen

    Im 7

  • Group picture at the GrowBot project meeting in L'Aquila

    Im 8

Deliverables' List

  • D1.1 - Data Management Plan I

    This deliverable will contain all data relative to dissemination and exploitation activities carried out in the project to maximize the visibility of GrowBot results.
    The first report (at M6) will report the strategies that will be adopted.

    M6
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D1.1) (2.65 MB)

  • D1.2 - Periodic activity report I

    This deliverable will report the technical activity carried out in the period M1-M12.

    M12
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D1.2) (6.05 MB)

  • D1.3 - Periodic management report I

    This deliverable will collect the activities carried out in task 1.2 about the project management in the period M1-M12.

    M12
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D1.3) (743 KB)

  • D1.4 - Data Management Plan II

    Update at M18 of D1.1.

    M18
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D1.4) (2.66 MB)

  • D1.5 - Technical/scientific review meeting documents II

    This deliverable will report the technical activity carried out in the period M12-M30.

    M30
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D1.6 - Financial review meeting documents II

    This deliverable will collect the activities carried out in task 1.2 about the project management in the period M12-M30.

    M30
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D1.7 - Data Management Plan III

    Update at M42 of D1.1 and D1.4.

    M42
    DUE DATE

    (expected in June, 2022)

  • D1.8 - Technical/scientific review meeting documents III

    This deliverable will report the technical activity carried out in the period M31-M42.

    M42
    DUE DATE

    (expected in June, 2022)

  • D1.9 - Financial review meeting documents III

    This deliverable will collect the activities carried out in task 1.2 about the project management in the period M31-M42.

    M42
    DUE DATE

    (expected in June, 2022)

  • D1.10 - Data Management Plan IV

    Update at M54 of D1.1, D1.4 and D1.7.

    M54
    DUE DATE

    (expected in June 2023)

  • D1.11 - Technical/scientific review meeting documents IV

    This deliverable will report the technical activity carried out in the period M43-M54.

    M54
    DUE DATE

    (expected in June, 2023)

  • D1.12 - Financial review meeting documents IV

    This deliverable will collect the activities carried out in task 1.2 about the project management in the period M43-M54.

    M54
    DUE DATE

    (expected in June, 2023)

Read more: WP1 - Management

WP3 - Climbing plants observation and modelling

WP3 - Climbing plants observation and modelling

WP3 aims to extract the structural and functional benchmarks required to design the plant-inspired growing robots and attachment solutions. The starting points are based on several scientific questions relevant in robotics and materials science, which include, among many: Why are climbing plants increasing in ecological importance? What functional traits underlie this increase? What are the mechanics, physics and chemistry behind attachment mechanisms? What evolutionary patterns underlie this diversity and success? What methods and tools (database technologies, ecological approaches, study plots, experimentation) do we need to develop and improve? What properties of vines and tendrils are useful for biomimetics research?

Partners involved

Partner logos

Tasks

  • Task 3.1: Macro-characterisation of biomechanical properties

    ALU-FR logo
    CNRS logo
    IIT logo
    1
    START MONTH
    27
    END MONTH

    Activities: (a) Ecological and functional survey of attachment organs and searcher deployment structures and "strategies" (b) Exploring the diversity of searcher span versus mechanical architecture and attachment mode (twining, adhesion, hook, spine, tendril) (c) field measurements of attachment types – maximum force, energy of fracture, tribology of stems and climbing organs, friction coefficients (d) "Smart Carabiners". Several approaches and technologies will be used (e.g., microcomputed tomography and high-field magnetic resonance imaging; viscoelastic and tribological features.


    Expected results: The analyses will provide coarse grain knowledge of the diversity of potential GrowBot models available and their functional strategies with respect to environment complexity in terms of size, shape, density of supports, clutter and presence of voids. Different climbing plant species inhabit different climbing niches, the analyses will provide a range of "performance" traits characterizing climbing plants that will be essential for the discussion of different "GrowBot life histories" from small bodied mobile green soft creeping twining systems adapted for short space colonization to life histories adapted for longer range larger scale larger span environments. Therefore provide potential evolvability planning for Growbots and determining what kind of reach and attachment for what kind of conditions within the current technological constraints. Morphological studies will also allow obtaining a 3D geometrical model (e.g. 3D reconstruction from micro-CT and MR images) that can guide the optimized design of the robotic climbing robots.

     

  • Task 3.2: Circumnutations and tropisms in climbing plants relevant for the robot control

    TAU logo
    CNRS logo
    ALU-FR logo
    GSSI logo
    1
    START MONTH
    27
    END MONTH

    Activities: Investigation of behavioural processes focusing on how climbing plants integrate tactile information about the structure of their environment together with other noisy environmental conditions (light, humidity etc), and how they use this information in order to make strategic decisions concerning their growth, as well as their response to the presence of neighbouring kin or non-related plants. Experiments will pose climbing plants with decision-making problems with contradictory cues (e.g one option with better lighting but a poor traction surface vs. an option with the opposite characteristics), and with fluctuating cues (e.g. flickering sources of light from changing directions emulating natural conditions). The observed motions will be studied also in silico models and will be described within a mathematical framework.


    Expected results: development of a kinematic model by post-processing of the videos (e.g., in MatLab) and specifications for designing bioinspired control theories.

  • Task 3.3: Attachment structures as climbing mechanisms searcher-attachment diversity

    CNRS logo
    ALU-FR logo
    1
    START MONTH
    30
    END MONTH

    Activities: (a) Characterisation of attachment type at different scales from stem twiners to root climbers to friction and micro anchorage surfaces, (b) smart wood development and strengthening at attachment points, (c) identify sources/ types of "movement" within different strategies necessary for efficient attachment of different biological systems that would have to be integrated for different GrowBot life histories, (d) quantification of the phenomena using several techniques for i) gross and fine morphology ((cryo)scanning electron microscopy, histology, fluorescent microscopy, polarizing optical microscopy); ii) superficial characterization (atomic force microscopy, white light interferometry, optical profilometry); iii) mechanical characterization (detachment pull-off force apparatus, tribological measurements, systems for extracting viscoelasticity properties, cell-pressure probe); iv) dynamic adjustment of attachment elements embedded in an evolving structure (time-lapse movies, microscopic analysis of different attachment configurations, real-time visual monitoring).


    Expected results: specifications for designing artificial plant-based attachment solutions. measurement of the exerted forces in selected circumstances (e.g., contact with external objects and pull-off force during attachment).

  • Task 3.4: Mathematical modelling of growth in climbing plants

    GSSI logo
    1
    START MONTH
    27
    END MONTH

    Activities: The first category of mathematical models focuses on the analysis of geometric growth, where the equations describe the elongation due to cell growth, and the response to gravity and/or to external obstacles. Feedback stabilization of the growth in the vertical direction in response to gravity and clinging to obstacles trigger a local change of the curvature, in the appropriate direction. The second category of models regards climbing plants dynamics where growth can be opposite to gravity or horizontal, with stems that cling or wrap around other plants or structures. In particular penetration of small diameter stems into cavities will generate a growth mainly controlled through curvature variations. A particular attention will be paid to low energy consumption growth and functioning mechanisms. An effort to understand plant strategies will be necessary to deal with obstacles detection and in general adaptation to the background environment. Anomalous scaling in the diffusion of obstacles need also needs to be taken under consideration.


    Expected results: Networking information among plants appears an ambitious and promising direction. Appropriate numerical codes will be developed to connect models and real data analysis.

Gallery

IN-LAB ACTIVITIES [ALU-FR] (photographer: Klaus Polkowski)

  • Frederike Klimm, GrowBot's researcher, looking at Passiflora discophora

    Frederike Klimm looking at Passiflora discophora

  • Thomas Speck, GrowBot's principal investigator, looking at searcher shoots of Mandevilla sp.

    Thomas Speck (PI) looking at searcher shoots of Mandevilla sp.

  • GrowBot's researchers in the research greenhouse of the Botanic Garden, Freiburg

    Research greenhouse of the Botanic Garden, Freiburg

  • GrowBot's researchers in the research greenhouse of the Botanic Garden, Freiburg

    Research greenhouse of the Botanic Garden, Freiburg

  • Lab of the Plant Biomechanics Group (Botanic Garden) in Freiburg

    Lab of the Plant Biomechanics Group (Botanic Garden), Freiburg

  • March Thielen and Frederike Klimm, GrowBot's researchers, examining a coiled tendril of Cyclanthera brachystachya

    March Thielen and Frederike Klimm examining a coiled tendril of Cyclanthera brachystachya

  • The coiled tendril of Cyclanthera brachystachya, one of the GrowBot's plant model, is kept and preserved in a fixation solution until embedding in resin for making thin sections

    The coiled tendril of Cyclanthera brachystachya is kept and preserved in a fixation solution until embedding in resin for making thin sections

  • GrowBot's researchers in the lab

    Our researchers in the lab

  • GrowBot's researcher making thin sections from resin embedded plant material for anatomical studies

    Our researcher making thin sections from resin embedded plant material for anatomical studies

  • Mechanical testing of a coiled tendril of Passiflora discophora, one of the GrowBot's plant model, using a micro-tensil testing machine

IN-FIELD ACTIVITIES [CNRS]

  • GrowBot's in-field research labs
    In-field research labs
  • GrowBot's lab in French Guiana
    French Guiana's lab
  • GrowBot's researcher working
    Our researcher working
  • GrowBot's researcher working
    Our researcher working
  • GrowBot's lab in the forest
    Our lab in the forest
  • GrowBot's researcher working
    Our researcher working

Learn more about our in-field researches

ANALYSIS AND MODELLING [TAU]

Learn more about our modelling

Outcomes

Deliverables' List

  • D3.1 - Model of tropisms and circumnutations

    In Task 3.2, circumnutations and tropisms will be analysed  to develop a kinematic model of selected climbing plants species. A report will be also released to summarize the results.

    M18
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D3.2 - Identification of biological models, “Field” behaviours and macro properties of stem and attachment structures

    Identification of biological models, “Field” behaviours and macro properties of  stem and attachment structures.

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D3.3 - Description of fine-scale organisation and properties of stems and attachment organs

    Description of fine-scale organisation and properties of stems and attachment organs

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D3.4 - Model of behavioural responses

    Starting from the results achieved in D3.1, a model of behavioural responses will be developed for designing bioinspired control theories. A report will be also released to summarize the results.

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D3.5 - Fine-scale physico-chemical characterisation of attachment structures

    Fine-scale physico-chemical characterisation of attachment structures

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D3.6 - Mathematical modelling of growth in climbing plants

    The expected result of task 3.4 is the development of appropriate numerical codes connecting models and real data analysis. A report will be also released to summarize the results.

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

Open Data

Growth Dynamics of Sensory-Growth Systems [3D Model]

Growth Dynamics of Sensory-Growth Systems (credits: TAU)

Learn more
Tensile test of Galium aparine's stem [Data]

Tensile test of Galium aparine's stem (credits: IIT-BSR)

Learn more

Read more: WP3 - Climbing plants observation and modelling

WP2 - Tutorials and design specifications

WP2 - Tutorials and design specifications

Two tutorials will to be given by biologists to engineers and by engineers to biologists. It can be a very effective way to exchange systematized knowledge between researchers from different communities and will greatly help the successive phases of joint research. This approach will help to overcome the difficulties inherent to the multi-disciplinary nature of GrowBot and open the discussion for the next WPs. The tutorials will then be made available on the Consortium web site for easy access. After this preliminary phase, this WP will be dedicated to define GrowBot design specifications and application scenarios.

Partners involved

Partner logos

Tasks

  • Task 2.1: Biology vs Artificial

    1
    START MONTH
    3
    END MONTH

    Activities: In this task, the experts on bioinspired and soft robotics, multifunctional materials, mathematical modelling, robot architectures, bioenergy, nanotechnologies, and manufacturing, will present to biologists fundamental aspects on these topics, which are relevant for GrowBot. Demos of the existing and developed prototypes/technologies will be organized to better explain their basic principles.


    Expected results: Defining a common language and clarifying misleading terminology. To propose a methodology to overcome barriers among disciplines.

     

  • Task 2.2: Artificial vs Biology

    1
    START MONTH
    3
    END MONTH

    Activities: In this task, the experts on plant physiology, biomechanics, ecology and behaviour will summarise and present to the experts on the “artificial” counterparts selected climbing plants features relevant for developing innovative artefacts.


    Expected results: Defining a common language and clarifying misleading terminology. To propose a methodology to overcome barriers among disciplines.

     

  • Task 2.3: GrowBot specifications and definition of the application scenarios

    4
    START MONTH
    6
    END MONTH

    Activities: This task will deliver the design of the GrowBot technologies and their application scenarios, with the support of the Advisory Board Members.


    Expected results: It will provide the basic constraints for the development of the different enabling technology (i.e., growing robot manufacturing approaches vs materials used for structure and functionality, soft robotic systems for anchoring, soft materials/actuators for attachment, control schemes, behavioural architecture, systems for energy generation from plants), in terms of dimensions, power consumption, data exchange, so to ensure a smooth integration phase in WP8.

Deliverables' List

  • D2.1 - Tutorial on fundamentals of plants biology

    The experts on plant physiology, biomechanics, ecology and behaviour will summarise and present to the experts on the “artificial” counterparts selected climbing plants features relevant for developing innovative artefacts.

    M3
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D2.1) (3.02 MB)

  • D2.2 - Tutorial on GrowBot-related technologies

    The experts on bioinspired and soft robotics, multifunctional materials, mathematical modelling, robot architectures, bioenergy, nanotechnologies, and manufacturing, will present to biologists fundamental aspects on these topics, which are relevant for GrowBot. Demos of the existing and developed prototypes/technologies will be organized to better explain their basic principles.

    M3
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D2.2) (2.98 MB)

  • D3.3 - GrowBot specifications and scenarios of use

    As result of Task 2.3 activities, a report will be released with the definition of specifications for technologies realization and with the scenarios of use.

    M6
    DUE DATE

    pdf Download (D2.3) (1.26 MB)

Read more: WP2 - Tutorials and design specifications

WP4 - Smart materials for growing process and attachment solutions

WP4 - Smart materials for growing process and attachment solutions

This WP focuses on the design and development of innovative materials and smart soft actuators required for and compatible with the growing mechanisms developed in WP5. Specifically, the following activities will be performed: 1) production of polymeric materials with stimuli-responsive behaviour, compatible with the growing mechanism described in Task 5.1; 2) in situ fabrication of soft actuators as structural materials for the growing parts integrable with the mechanism described in Task 5.4; 3) bioinspired attachment structures.

Partners involved

Partner logos

Tasks

  • Task 4.1: Structural materials responsive to (bio)chemical stimuli

    IIT logo
    Hereon logo
    7
    START MONTH
    27
    END MONTH

    Activities: Materials will be developed to respond to soft (chemical or biological) stimuli with physical changes (in volume, in optical appearance), and to report the process remotely. The sensing/response will need to be translated as (di)electric signals in order to allow reporting (through carbon paste electrodes deposited along the robot body). These materials will be based on two different ‘translation’ approaches: A) detection based on changes in dielectric properties (impedance). The materials are polysulfides, and massively increase their dielectric constant upon oxidation, which allows detection; the resulting large swelling potentially also induces a curvature in the robot body, and/or increases its transparency (physical changes). Polysulfides respond directly only to some oxidants (H2O2), but can be made sensitive to other molecules by conjugation with H2O2-producing enzymes; for example glucose oxidase, oxalate oxidase etc. will allowing a versatile stimulus responsive behavior, by producing the above changes in the presence of glucose, oxalate. B) Detection through changes in conductivity. In the simplest example, moisture is sensed by PEDOT-PSS conductivity (changing with water uptake). Here we will produce hybrids containing both PEDOT and polysulfides. Polysulfide oxidation leads to higher hydrophilicity, which is read through PEDOT conductivity.


    Expected results: Spinnable/sprayable (bio)responsive materials with two different detection methods.

     

  • Task 4.2: Structural materials based on soft actuators responsive to physical stimuli

    HZG logo
    IIT logo
    7
    START MONTH
    27
    END MONTH

    Activities: This task aims at developing an innovative material technology for in-situ fabrication of controllable soft actuator elements as structural material for the growing parts of the GrowBot. The desired technology of soft actuators requires an integrated approach combining material synthesis or modification, a controlled deposition process (Task 5.3) and encoding (programming) the actuation information in an almost simultaneous fashion. The sensitivity of the actuating components to relevant environmental stimuli such as light or humidity will be achieved by incorporating photo-sensitive (e.g. gold nanoparticles) or humidity-sensitive (e.g. hydroxyethyl cellulose or hydrogels) micro- or nanofillers. Three different material concepts will be explored for printable actuators: i) highly deformable, crystallizable thermoplastics and ii) crosslinked crystallizable thermoplastics and blends thereof as thermo-reversible actuators that preferably switch in the temperature interval between 10 °C and 60 °C, as well as iii) temperature- and photo-sensitive hydrogel actuator systems. In a second step, the best-suited material system will be adjusted regarding the growth rate and energy consumption.


    Expected results: Development of a material technology for in-situ fabrication of controllable soft actuator elements as integral structural parts of the growing robot body.

     

  • Task 4.3: Design and development of attachment mechanisms

    IIT logo
    Linari logo
    7
    START MONTH
    27
    END MONTH

    Activities: The main approach to obtain attachment to a solid substrate will be inspired by two biological mechanisms: morphologically to the adhesion of plants such as ivy (production of attachment structures), chemically to that of muscles (dopamine-like glues). We will develop tyrosine (phenol)-rich polysaccharides (ideally, pectin derivatives) spinnable/sprayable with the machinery developed in WP5.1; these polymers will be codeposited with a peroxidase/laccase, which will in situ convert tyrosines into catechols, and then quinones, thereby leading to the same chemical process (‘polydopamine’ production) muscles exploit to attach to substrates. The polysaccharide structure will further help attachment, as it does in ivy plants (predominantly calcium-mediated crosslinking of uronic acids such as those in pectin). The task will focus on the selection of polymers with appropriate phenol content and coformulated with appropriate laccase concentration to obtain curing/adhesion in a few minutes after spinning.


    Expected results: Development of attachment structures.

     

Gallery

(coming soon)

Outcomes

  • 2020 Macromolecular Materials and Engineering

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  • 2019 BioMACROMOLECULES

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Deliverables' List

  • D4.1 - Structural materials responsive to (bio)chemical stimuli

    The expected result of T4.1 is a structural material spinnable/spayable responsive to (bio)chemical stimuli. 

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D4.2 - Structural soft actuator-based materials on responsive to physical stimuli

    Development of a material technology for in situ fabrication of controllable soft actuator elements as integral structural parts of the growing robot body.

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

  • D4.3 - Prototypes of attachment solutions

    As result of Task 3.4, it is expected the development of attachment mechanisms to permit the adhesion of the robot to existing structures.

    M24
    DUE DATE

    Accepted (confidential)

Read more: WP4 - Smart materials for growing process and attachment solutions

GROWBOT
FET Proactive: emerging paradigms and communities
Research and Innovation Action Grant agreement n. 824074