Sharing: Growing Crops with Video Projections

To recycle culture into fertilizer, the Raised on YouTube project aims to grow plants using only the dancing light and sound of algorithmically curated video.

Plants can sense light direction, color frequency, and can be programmed to flower with cycles of darkness. They respond differently to colors of light: most plants hate the green spectrum and reflect it away (hence their green appearance). Different types of chlorophyll are stimulated by specific colors: red light makes plants grow tall and spidery and blue light makes them short and bushy.  Grow beds raised with video mature into manufactured landscapes serving as data visualizations of concentrations of cultural energy.

Growing plants with user generated web video sutures the natural and cultural ecologies in the hopes that they will inter-grow into a whole.
The web enabled ecology game Raised On YouTube invites visitors to paste YouTube videos and get their photosynthetic power score. In the Spring of 2014, the videos were projected on plant grow beds and the resulting scene streamed to the web. Top three players with the most photosynthetic videos won prizes made from the plants grown with their videos.

The result is crowdsourced alchemy transforming the unwatchable glut of video content—a sort of cultural waste—into value.

Air Quality Soundscape – Update

Team: Yuchen Zhang, Natasha Lewandrowski, Agustin Crawford (Nevaris), and special guest artist Fabiola Einhorn.

Description: We propose to build an urban air quality monitor that provides realtime audio feedback. Our goal is to create a portable particulate matter monitor that can be worn inconspicuously during regular daily activities. We will utilize the form and function of a pair a headphones to express air-quality information through sound while also keeping the device inconspicuous.

Initial goals: We will collect air quality information using an optical dust sensor.  The sensor data will be transmitted to a mobile phone  using an Arduino Yun. The phone will provide GPS, time, and location data. As an alternate plan, we might use a separate standalone GPS paired with a datalogger to collect this information.

The dust sensor data will be output as sound using the headphones. The wearer will listen to prerecorded tracks that are stored on a micro SD card and played through the Arduino Yun. The sensor data will manifest as noise in the audio track. When the wearer is in a clean air environment she will be able to listen to her music clearly. When the wearer is in a dirty air environment the songs will be distorted. The goal is to guide the wearer to safe air by manipulating the quality of her music.

The GPS and sensor data can be uploaded to a computer and used to create a complementary set of visual maps of air quality based on the wearer’s travels.

Long term goals: We envision continuing this project beyond the scope of the midterm. Our long term goal is to create a mobile app that could be paired with the headphones. This would allow the  wearer to listen to her music normally (instead of through the sd card) while still receiving audio feedback from the sensor. Additionally, the wearer to see the visual data in real time on her phone, rather than having to wait until she gets home.

We would also like to create an inexpensive standalone device that could be used by people who cannot afford a smart phone. In this version audio might be collected and manipulated based on ambient sound in the environment rather than by manipulating audio files.

Production Schedule:

  • Due Sept 25: Create a functional prototype to test the optical dust sensor and see if we can record the information to the data logger (in progress).
  • Due Oct 2: Incorporate the GPS data and experiment with audio feedback (in progress).
  • Due Oct 9: Design the enclosure. Final design complete.
  • Due Oct 16: 3D print enclosure. Document project.
  • Due Oct  23: Present final project.

Technical diagrams

Signal-Chain

Diagram using GPS and datalogger

DustSensorSchematics

Diagram of how the dust sensor is connected to the Arduino

UX diagram

UXdiagram

UX diagram

Air Quality Soundscapes Headphones

Team: Yuchen Zhang, Natasha Lewandrowski, and Agustin Crawford (Nevaris).

Description: For our midterm project we propose to build an urban air quality monitor that provides realtime audio feedback. Our goal is to create a portable particulate matter monitor that can be worn inconspicuously during regular daily activities. We will utilize the form and function of a pair a headphones to express air-quality information through sound while also keeping the device inconspicuous.

How will it work? We will use an optical dust sensor to monitor particulate matter in the air. The information from the monitor will be paired with location data and time data collected using GPS and stored in a data logger. The data logger will output the data as a .csv file which can later be used to create a complementary set of visual maps of air quality based on the wearer’s travels.

Production Schedule:

  • Today: Purchase materials (complete)
  • Due Sept 25: Create a functional prototype to test the optical dust sensor and see if we can record the information to the data logger.
  • Due Oct 2: Incorporate the GPS data and experiment with audio feedback.
  • Due Oct 9: Design the enclosure. Final design complete.
  • Due Oct 16: 3D print enclosure. Document project.
  • Due Oct  23: Present final project.

Inspirations:

EPA dress http://inhabitat.com/2nd-skins-epa-dress-and-piezing-motion-powered-dress/

FLOAT Beijing http://f-l-o-a-t.com/

algaculture symbiosis suit designed by Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta. http://www.dvice.com/2013-8-12/algae-suit-generates-food-feed-your-constant-hunger

Smart Air Kite https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/replaymy/smart-air-kites-float-beijing

 

 

Re:Cell – A mobile testing lab for disaster zone reconstitution.

We will create a mobile lab for rebuilding disaster affected areas by creating new materials and structures from the remnants. We aim to send in a probe to test the quality and chemical constitution of the remnants from where will be able to propose suitable biotechnological interventions to produce materials from which we can create new habitable environments.

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Areas that we will be exploring include decellularization, mycelium and bioreactors as a start.

We are imagining that we will be able to create cellulose scaffold from the plant remains which will then be used to rebuild the environment. Or use decaying materials to grow mycelium which will produce biobricks on site and would not need to be transported to the areas in need. Natural bioreactor can also be built using the elements that we find.

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Our mobile lab will contain the tools to test the environment, a probe that can venture into the disaster area without harming the lab operator and have starter cultures to produce the necessary biomaterials. The results we hope  will exist in symbiosis with the nature and the human and will allow for the quick and natural creation of new structures in post disaster areas.

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Ali, Annelie & Wes

Kombucha Workshop

In this workshop we will be making Scoby from Kombucha tea. If this is all foreign to you, here are some answers:

What is kombucha?

The tea fungus ‘Kombucha’ is a symbiosis of Acetobacter (a bacteria that can oxidase of ethanol to acetic acid during fermentation) and yeast. Many people around the world drink the fermented tea for its health benefits (yes fermented food is really healthy for you, but note there is a difference between fermented and rancid).

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Scoby also know as the starter culture or “mother”.

However there is a drive towards biomaterials at the moment: materials that are either synthesized naturally or inspired by nature;  we all know the impact that man-made material is having on the planet. So we will not be making the tea for health benefits, although you are welcome to drink it, but to create the thick layer of biomaterial or scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) that forms on the top of this tea. The scoby creates a leatherlike substance once dried and this has been used in various fashion experiments and has helped us develop theories and techniques for future explorations into biomaterials.

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During this workshop we will create the foundation so you can create your own scoby from where you can grow it to any size you want. (it grows to the size of the container that you put it in.)

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Things to remember:

  1. When working with biological material, always keep it very sanitary. Clean your equipment with alcohol, hot water or iodine. Soap and detergents might kill your specimen. Dirt will leave with you contaminated, smelly and unsuccessful projects
  2. Biology takes time, so be patient. The longer you wait, the greater the reward. But you do need to take care of the specimen along the way. Keep it clean, keep the temperature and light for optimum growing conditions and keep an eye on it.
  3. If things do get contaminated, bleach kills just about anything and you should discard your specimen in bleach.

What you need to bring:

  • 1/2- 1 c. kombucha tea ( you can bring store-bought kombucha, but try for the organic, raw variety, any additives can harm your bacteria. )

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  • 2-3 teabags: green, or black caffeinated teas work best
  • 3-4 tablespoons of White sugar (this is the food of the bacteria so the more sugar you add, the more it will have to eat.)
  • 2 cups of spring water
  • 50ml white or apple cider vinegar
  • A clean container that has not been washed with detergent. The scoby will take on the shape of the container, so if you want to be creative…
  • A clean breathable cloth that we will use to cover the container.

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What we will be doing:

  1. Heat half of the water to boiling
  2. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. The sugar (glucose) is the food for the Acetobacter to feed on and ferment.
  3. Add tea bags to the boiling water with sugar. Herbal or Earl Grey tea are not recommended!
  4. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove teabags and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Pour the room temperature tea into clean container. Add remaining spring water. Cover and cool to room temperature.
  6. Add vinegar, Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) and reserve kombucha starter to your tea. Use gloves or wash clean hands to touch scoby.
  7. Cover with breathable clean cloth. Secure with a rubber band or tape to keep fruit flies from invading.
  8. Allow to sit undisturbed for at least 7 days, or until scoby is desired thickness (it takes at least 2 weeks to reach 1/2 “ thickness, which dries to be like thin leather. Thinner scabies once dried can be similar to parchment)
  9. Adjust the pH using paper strips if desired. Ideal kombucha should have a ph of 3-5.5

Video on how to make your own Kombucha