connected domes: whispers from the garden

The idea is to detect bio feedback of plants from the okno open_green, send these data from the garden (over a radio frequency connection) into okno_inside, transform them into generative music and stream them over the okno_radio.
After a collective brainstorm, different parts of the project are setup and worked out by different people. At the end everything fits into one project.
We discussed possibilities to measure subtle activities of plants and create a human/plant interaction. We discovered that all plants in the open_green are showing a highly complex biodynamic response to their environment.
We conducted experiments to try and find out how plants react to wind, air pressure, touch, light, movement, sound etc.

multimeter testing webcam with courgette conductive thread connected to the sunflower leaf

1. sensors:
We were experimenting with different sensors on stems, flowers and leaves observing data and biodynamic responses. First we looked into measuring the bio resistance of the plants. We tried to build a galvanometer based on the Backster experiments.
Simultaneously we were working with stretch sensors: long thin pieces of stretch fabric were attached to the sunflower stems. When the flowers move in the wind, the fabric becomes more or less resistive and generates different data.
We worked with all kinds of conductive and natural materials used for measuring variable resistance: stretch fabric / conductive thread / graphite / metal wool / foil / wire / and the plants themselves.
We decided to work with 2 data types: the Slow Input where plants are growing and moving, changing absorbation of light and temperature (plant as actor); and the Fast Input: drumming, touching, knocking, talking, rubbing and pressing the plants (using plant as interface).

plant as actor putting stretchfabric on the sunflowers lilypad accelero x y z generating data with wind connected sunflowers

2. alternative powering:
We put small 4.5V solarpanels in serie to power arduino’s and sensors.

soldering preparing some resistors balt and audrey discussing setup audrey and stefanie soldering working on the solarpanels and timelapse

3. wireless connections:
The data are send via an internal radio network. We configured Xbee Radios with Xbee Shield via Serial connection (USB). Each Xbee is given an address/name/destination via AT commands. The arduinos are programmed to handle the data.

brainstorming sensor possibilities data gathering lilypad accelerometer dataflow proposal

4. sonification and streaming:
The numbers we are getting in from the garden are becoming parameters and generators of our open_green sound. The data coming out of the 14 analog input streams are sonified via Supercollider create a nice ‘zen-sound’.

data sonification patched by isjtar in Supercollider bamboo dome with speakers webcam lit by solarpanels webcam lit by solarpanels

music from sunflowers
# Artist: Isjtar
# Title: Music for Sunflowers
# Length: 4:46 minutes (10.59 MB)
# Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 311Kbps (VBR)