Do you know what your garden is missing right now? Of course you do, because whenever this blog asks you what X is missing right now, the correct answer is always always always ROBOTS. And your garden is absolutely missing robots. Specifically, the sort with lots of legs and big lights on their heads.
These Toro-bots from Trossen Robotics customer Cassinelli Alvaro are built on top of PhantomX quadrupeds, and each has been programmed with its own unique behavior. Infrared rangefinders allow the robots to react to things like people walking past them, and they're also equipped with infrared beacons that allow them to be tracked individually by an IR camera and (eventually) given some level of centralized autonomous control.
The Toro-bots are about more than just having lamps that can walk around (as cool as that is). They're part of a grand vision of a garden that can aesthetically rework itself:
I like the idea that a garden full of robots might also be able to carry out practical tasks, like having walking lamps that follow you around at night. Maybe you can outfit them with cameras or other sensors to monitor plant health, and give them remote control over your sprinkler system. They could live (and charge) indoors, and come and go as they please through the robot equivalent of a doggy door. Adorable!
To get started on a robot like this of your own, all it takes is a Japanese lamp plus a PhantomX quadruped kit, which'll set you back about $1,000.
Get more from IEEE Spectrum
This article originally appeared on IEEE Spectrum; all rights reserved.