Robotic Sculpture, 2008

“Himawari” means sunflower in Japanese. Sunflowers exhibit heliotropism which is the tendency to move the heads of their flowers so they face the sun, during sunrise. That movement of the flower stem and the blossoming towards the sun, seems to communicate a message.

Himawari is an originally created robotic plant, influenced by the sunflower. Using an infrared camera in the plant as eyes, Himawari moves, following human movement. The stalk of the plant is driven by servo motors. There are two kinds of LEDs in the head of the plant. Infrared LEDs which are used to reflect IR light from the human motion into the camera, and white LEDs that shine inside the flower. Originally developed shape-memory alloy actuators are used to move the petals of the flower and the tentacles inside the head. 80 shape-memory alloy actuators and 48 white LEDs wriggle and twinkle according to human movements. This wriggling and twinkling reaction introduces the expression of Himawari.

The plant robot Himawari, composed of both mechanical and electronic parts, quietly reacts to human presence. It’s slow ,weak and slender movements interact with human motion, trying to communicate, the same way a sunflower communicates with the morning sun.

Awards :
九州大学C&Cプロジェクト2008 総長賞 優秀賞

Exhibitions :
街じゅうアートin 北九州2008, リバーウォーク北九州, 2008.
北九州学術研究都市 第8回 産学連携フェア, 西日本展示場, 2008.
ロボスクエア, 23/Jul/2009-12/Aug/2009.
SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009 in Yokohama, Emerging Technologies, 2009.
東京ミッドタウン・デザインハブ 「ちょっと気になる芸術工学」, 2010.
東京ミッドタウン・デザインハブ「にんげんをしあわせにするデザイン」, 2011.

Publications :
Nakayasu, A. Himawari : Shape Memory Alloy Motion Display for Robotic Representation, In ACM SIGCHI 2010 SRC.
Nakayasu, A. and Tomimatsu, K. Himawari Plant Robot: Creature Expression Using Shape-Memory-Alloy Actuator Crowd Robots, In ACM SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009 E-Tech.
Nakayasu, A. and Tomimatsu, K. 2009. Himawari: A Plant Robot. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2009 Posters.
中安翌, 富松潔, 形状記憶合金のアート作品への応用事例~ himawari prototype ~ , 形状記憶合金シンポジウム概要集, 形状記憶合金協会, pp30-39, 2008.

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Contributors :
吉川工業株式会社, 九州大学C&Cプロジェクト
株式会社吉見製作所, NPO法人創を考える会・北九州