IndaPlant Community Goes Live Each Day From 10:00am to Noon Via Webcam

I am thrilled to report that our current community of three IndaPlants (IP’s) from the IndaPlant ProjectAn Act of Trans-Species Giving went live via a webcam during an exhibition at the Association of Environmental Science Studies in New York this June. Visitors to the gallery at AESS were able to watch the floraborgs (part-plant/part-robot entities that use machine learning to locate sunlight and water) navigate the hallways of the School of Engineering at Rutgers University from 10:00am to noon each day.

One of the interesting aspects of this project is that the IP’s have become part of the daily routine at Rutgers University. When my collaborator on the project, Dr. Qingze Zou, comes to work in the morning he is greeted by the IndaPlants, which jostle with one another to exit his office in search of sun in the adjacent hallway. When an IndaPlant is thirsty, a moisture sensor sends a signal through the unit’s central processor which may decide that its plant species needs water. If so, the unit will locate a water dispenser in the hallway, via an inferred sensor. If a floraborg is in the immediate vicinity of the watering station, passer-buys are invited to give the plant a drink.

My primary interest in creating this art piece lies in the poetic implications of turning an immobile houseplant—which is completely dependent upon human largesse and care—into a free agent. The project has however grown in addressing the relationship of the built to the natural world. The work has led to the synergistic creation of a larger team and what may be a truly significant scientific breakthrough in communicating with plants about the nature of our shared environment. In addition to myself and Dr. Zou, the IndaPlant team now includes the biologist Dr. Simeon Kotchoni and the computer scientist Dr. Ahmed Elgammal. With these joint capabilities our group is now working on the creation of a floraborg biocyber interface. Addressing the super sensory capacities of plants, this interface allows humans to decipher plant-based information on ecosystem health, the effects of climate change and air pollution. In this capacity, a super sensory IndaPlantV2 (IPV2) may allow us to model and support environments that are able to sustain humans and plants alike.

The project is currently up for multiple grants that will allow us to close a positive feed back loop between the plant and its robotic cartage and we have hight expectations for what the future will bring for our floraborgs.


IndaPlant FloraBorg Project Debut French

IndaPlant FloraBorg Project, French debut. The IndaPlant Project had its art debut at CAMAC []  Marnay-sur-Seine last night. All my thanks to Laetitia Brion and Carolina Cruz for the French translation work on the wall didactics. And special thanks to Jean Yves, Director of CAMAC for the exhibition space. Below is the French project statement.

CAMAC Center D'Art Marney, Art, Science, Technology, 2013
CAMAC Center D’Art Marnay, Art, Science, Technology, 2013

IndaPlant: Un dispositif qui permet aux plantes de se déplacer pour trouver de la lumière et de l’eau.

Beaucoup de gens ont des plantes d’intérieur chez eux. Le problème est que les plantes

d’intérieures nécessitent un arrosage régulier et ont besoin d’être dans un endroit où elles reçoivent de la lumière.

Surnommé IndaPlant, l’appareil réalisé par le professeur Elizabeth Demaray et le Dr Qingze Zou est à l’écoute des besoins de la plante et recherche de la lumière et de l’eau si celle-ci en a besoin.

Á l’aide d’une carte Arduino et de certains capteurs, ce dispositif est non seulement capable de trouver de la lumière et de l’eau mais aussi de déplacer la plante vers cette zone.

Il est également capable de communiquer avec les autres IndaPlants. Ainsi, si une plante a découvert de l’eau ou de la lumière, le dispositif alerte les autres Indaplants et tous viendront éponger la « soif » d’eau et la « faim » de lumière des plantes.

The IndaPlant FaunaBorg, from the IndaPlant Project, An Act of Trans-Species Giving, 2013
The IndaPlant FaunaBorg, from the IndaPlant Project, An Act of Trans-Species Giving, 2013

En plus de permettre à la plante de s’alimenter, IndaPlant peut aussi recharger sa batterie par le biais de capteurs solaires. IndaPlant a également six capteurs qui lui évitent de heurter des objets dans la maison.

La chose la plus surprenante est qu’il est en mesure de connaître exactement le type de nutriments dont a besoin la plante et en quelle quantité car la carte Arduino est programmée pour connaître les habitudes alimentaires de la plante transportée.

Cette plateforme robotique sera présentée lors du Symposium International des arts électroniques (ISEA) qui aura lieu à Sydney, en Australie, du 7 au 16 juin 2013.

The IndaPlant Project: An Act of Trans-Species Giving

The IndaPlant Project: An Act of Trans-Species Giving. This is the first test run for the first ever floraborg.

Our first IndaPlant, a robotic support that allows houseplants to freely seek sunlight and water, is up and running. The work debuted this week at the Secret Life of Plants Symposium at Princeton University, will debut as a solo show at CAMAC this month and will be presented at the 2013 International Symposium on Electronic Art in three weeks. If you are in Sydney, please join us!

In advance of the opening at CAMAC, I posted a rough video short of the project titled IndaPlant Project: An Act of Trans-Species Giving, on vimeo: last week. The video describes the making of the first IndaPlant, shows the initial floraborg test run and describes the multiple stages of the project.

Once the video was posted, Christopher Mims wrote a lovely article about the project on Quartz That story was apparently picked up by the Daily Mail in the UK which ran it as their lead science and technology story (with a great picture of a wilted potted plant) on Monday, May 13th,

Just now, as I was about to write this post, I did a fast Google search on the project and first found, on French YouTube, part of the video with no voice over and some sort of ominous dance music: It had two hundred hits (!) If any of you know French–please let me know what the write up says.

I then proceeded to find on Google five pages of posts/articles and blogs about the project in many languages. So, if any of you can read any of these posts, let me know what you think. Cheers, Eliz

In Spanish:

In French:

In English: