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3D-Printed Mushroom Brained Robot Detects Harmful Gases


Life Guardian is a cyborg that integrates a 3D printed mechanical part and a living part: a mushroom. The biological part determines and modifies the robot behavior, so it is considered as its brain.

Life Guardian


It was created by two Argentinean electronic artists for the festival of Land Art Mongolia 2018. Their purpose was to “create a robot that could walk along the territory and generate data that can be used to see information about the area that couldn’t be appreciated.”

How does it work?

It has two different types of sensors. One of them permanently checks environmental conditions while the other one evaluates mushroom conditions. The robot is programmed to always move in search of its mushroom well being, so the route that it takes gives away useful information about the environment.

The mushroom brain

Among its data, it collects humidity, temperature, mushroom color, presence of air pollution and kind of atmospheric gases. It also makes a photographic registration of the environment. The information can be seen in real time in its LCD and keeps stored in an SD card with its location where the measurements have been taken.

LCD Screen showing humidity, temperature and ammonia values

Adventures in Mongolia

It was tested in Mongolia mountains where Life Guardian moved with total harmony with the free cattle in the hillsides. With the data obtained, maps were created for better visualization. High levels of NH3 were detected by the robot in specific areas where there was more cattle concentration. The study shows that ammonia high percentages in the air might be a consequence of cattle flatulence. This gas, as well as others emitted by other ruminants, contribute to global warming and acid rain effects.

Life Guardian and Mongolian cattle

Life Guardian next objective is to map a zone in the city of Buenos Aires.

What would path will this mushroom take?

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