top of page

What If a Robot can Grow, Age, and Decay?  [ongoing project]

The growing robot project aims to challenge the never-aging permanence of robots’ bodies by designing robots that age and decay. Social robots are often designed with child-like cute appearances: but can we really appreciate the youth if it never turns old? Inspired by Freud's essay "on Transience" and Hoffman's article "The Social Uncaniness of Robotic Companions", we invite the aspects of transience in our design of social robots, by designing robots that age their body along with the human users. We hope to provide various social values through such design, building empathy and care into interactions, bonding long-term relationships, and increasing the robot's adaptability to changing environments.

We explored various materials and mechanisms to realize different growing patterns of robots. We design a robot-plant hybrid where the sprouting of seeds and growth of plants can trigger different mechanical changes inside the robot's body, for example, actuating or disabling a joint, growing taller, breaking or destroying body parts, etc. We look forward to sharing more designs after we publish our results.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at


To come!

bottom of page