Do you remember Wall-E's girlfriend Eve? Her mission was to find plant life. Once she did, it was her mission to protect the plant. Le Petit Prince, though still a concept, is also a robot that has a similar mission, except he already has a plant inside him and it's his mission to keep it alive.
Le Petit Prince is a robotic garden concept, designed for the Electrolux Design Lab 2009 by Martin Miklica. His innovative idea is one of the finalists in the competition. Inside the robot, under the glass cover, on top of the pod with legs is a plant. It is the robots mission to take care of the plant and scout out nutrients for it to keep it alive. It then, "also reports its movements and progress to its fellow greenhouse robots via wireless communication so that they can learn from each other."
Why invent a robotic garden? It was built for the future, for Mars. The idea was/is, if we ever colonize another planet, like mars, we could take these little garden robots with us to that planet and it would grow any plant we want or need at the time. Martin also notes in his interview with Electrolux that the robotic garden could also serve as a pet or a silent friend. I can certainly see his point. It could be like a pet. I suppose if one was lonely or wanted to be alone this cut little robot with one eye, four legs and a plant inside could serve as a pet. Children have made pets of rocks, why not a robot?
Watch how The Petit Prince protects the plant and moves around on this YouTube video
In my eyes we could use something like this now. With this technology people with not-so-green-thumbs could now posses a little garden in their home, and finally keep their plants alive. It would make for a neat, yet very expensive, gift. Or, say we somehow manage to wipe out most or all plant life on earth. These robotic gardens would be our means of survival.
For more information on Le Petit Prince or Martin Miklica read the interview of Martin with Electrolux here.
By the way don't forget to take a look at the other finalist designed for the Electrolux Design Lab 2009. One of them is a waterless washing machine you can lie on that will freshen up your clothes while you wear it. I don't know if this means if you have to strip down to your undies to get them clean too, but the idea is fascinating.
Via Treehugger and Tuvie and Electolux Designlab 2009