How are my plants doing? Let me listen
coordinators: Philip Tabor, Gillian Crampton Smith
when: march 2009
with: Maria Gabriella Astolfo, Alberto Granaiola
where: Iuav University of Venice, IxD Lab2
what: system to keep-in-touch with plants
why: take care of your plants
A system to help people who have plants to stay in touch with them when they are apart, listening to their “voices” and knowing when they’re thirsty. A new communication channel links the plants to a device carried on the person.
The project wants to make people more aware of the fact that plants are not just pieces of furnitures in our houses, but living creatures and they are like big antennas that pick up a lot of energetic variations, including human energetic fields, and they respond to the surrounding environment by the sap movement from leaf to root. Giving plants a “voice” we try to code their messages and translate them for people to understand, so that they can learn how to take care of their green “friends”.
what it looks like
The device carried by the user is a small cube (3 x 3 x 3 cm) with rounded edges. On each face there is a diagonal holes pattern which recalls the vein of a leaf. Light comes out from these holes, identifying with different colours the relation between the plant and the specific face of the device. In fact, each face is linked to a different plant, symbolized by a colour. You can connect up to six plants to one device, through a simple synchronization.
how it works
Each plant sends two kinds of “natural” inputs:
• electrical resistance of its sap
• water content of soil
The values are taken through a microcontroller and sent to a server to be processed.
There are two different outputs given directly by the device for the user:
Each face of the cube gives different sound and light outputs, according to the plant it’s linked to. The music is constantly generated on the basis of the electrical signal given off by the plants. Each of them has a different musical instrument sound in order to be identified.
The sound is played very quietly so, to listen, you must place the appropriate face very close to your ear.
Light intensity is related to the soil moisture: when the soil is wet, light is on and bright, when the plant begins to be thirsty, it starts to fade (and it could go off if the soil becomes completely dry!).
more information www.interaction-venice.com