Although our concept for the midterm seemed simple, the logistics of putting it together became quite complicated. In the first place we discovered that we needed a lot of technology to make a plant pot move. We needed a fair sized motor and the plant pot (and the plant included) should be very light and compact. Then, trying to fit all the technology inside a very small pot became a real challenge. The plant pot also had to have a great deal of intelligence, meaning it should be able to sense light levels, move to the strongest light source and stop there, not missing its mark, second, when the light source disappears at night, the plant pot should go into energy saving mode and sleep, no longer moving about, alternatively, for a very dark, cloudy day with patchy sun, the plant pot should use its energy reserve of solar power to move, so that it does not get trapped in a shadowy corner.
Several challenges came along the way: first, we started building our prototype as a type of solar-powered car (instead of building all the mechanisms inside an actual plant pot) – this happened because we were looking at an issue of MAKE magazine that highlighted solar powered cars and we thought that perhaps if we could get a car to work, then perhaps our course would be as simple as just attaching a plant pot over this car. This thinking though took us in the wrong direction, because by spending the time to work on a solar powered car which only moved forwards and had no other intelligence, our prototype actually took us farther from our original concept.
An issue of MAKE magazine titled “Hack your Plants” which served as inspiration for our prototype.
Our first prototype.