This WP aims to carry out continuous and later validations towards final GrowBot prototypes at two overall levels: i) biological validations (9.1&9.2), where developed platforms will be used to implement climbing plant control strategies and verify capabilities that imitate plant behaviour; and later ii) application-oriented validations (9.3&9.4), where the three GrowBots will be tested in simulated lab scenarios to verify their capabilities to move and explore in highly unstructured environments under different tasks.
Activities: This task will define the types of experiment that will be performed with GrowBots at any given stage of the project. Experimental setups (focussing on specific behaviours and functions) will be built to test external stimuli on the robot, verify the "resulting behaviour" compared to the "desired behaviour" observed in real world ecological situations. Comparative analysis in the same environment between real plant and GrowBot will be also considered as the project unfolds.
Expected results: Experimental methodology and multi-stimulus experimental setup to validate robot performance.
Activities: In accordance with the experimentation goals defined in T9.1 a series of tests will be performed in order to evaluate the capabilities of GrowBots and their components to mimic climbing plant behaviour. Examples of likely preliminary tests can be summarized as follows: "Behavioural performance": (i) searching = circumnutation implementation (ii) deployment of creeping (horizontal) or climbing growth (iii) ability to locate a support (tropism tests e.g. light/dark tracking), (iv) ability to anchor to a support. Functional performance: (i) speed of growth (ii) sensitivity to cues, (iii) successful deployment (mechanical stiffness and directional sensitivity) of searcher (v) strength and reliability of attachment. (vi) comparison of properties and performances of specific "biological tissues" and "artificial tissues".
Expected results: Full characterization of GrowBot performance and behaviour.
Activities: This task aims to test GrowBots performance in real applications. In particular, three main task-based scenarios have been identified: (i) Post-disaster search and rescue (ii) structural consolidation and (iii) anchorage on unstable structures and rough surfaces. In (i), twiner-robot can move by growing within debris and rubble, negotiating obstacles via creeping and climbing, spanning voids and searching for survivors. It can also anchor around tubular structures to sustain its structure and negotiate wind-prone environments. In (ii) and (iii), ivy-robot grows and attaches to walls and unstable structures thus consolidating them. GrowBots can be also equipped with sensors useful for specific tasks (e.g., a camera and lights to explore unreachable areas in the rescue scenarios). The capability of autonomous energy production and harvesting to power (entirely or partially) sensors or parts of the robots will be validated.
Expected results: Experimental methodology ready to evaluate the robot capabilities.
Activities: In accordance with the experimentation methodology defined in Task 9.3, a series of tests will be performed to evaluate the capabilities of GrowBots to accomplish the defined tasks in selected application scenarios.
Expected results: A fully characterization of GrowBot abilities.
A report that defines experimental methodology and multi-stimulus experimental setup to validate robot performance.
(expected in September, 2021)
Report on validation results about the capabilities of the robot to mimic relevant biological behaviours.
(expected in March, 2022)
A report that defines experimental methodology to validate robot performance in the expected application scenarios.
(expected in August, 2022)
Report on validation results about the capabilities of the robot to have the expected functionality in the proposed scenarios.
(expected in December, 2022)