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The Hanging Garden, a collaboration between The Clorofilas and Aer Studio, uses an arduino to monitor a plant’s need for water. Moisture sensors in the soil send information to the arduino, causing LEDS to light when the soil becomes too dry. The organic use of the arduino surprised me; that the arduino can respond to a sensor so obscure as moisture was very interesting. Overall the work is very successful in its relation of plants and technology. The soft, small lights give the plants the voice one would expect a plant to have—the lights are subtle and emerge organically from the leaves, as if they are just extensions of the plant. The work is quiet and self sustaining, and it generates a sense of peace.



Captured, by Nils Völkerand Sven Völker, is an environment installation consisting of space blankets inflated by CPU fans at controlled speeds. An arduino controls all of the fans. This project combines intelligent material choice and application. As the blankets inflate and deflate, they generate soft colliding sounds that rise and fall with each undulation of the environment. The mirror surfaces of the blankets reflect one another, deepening even subtle movements made by the air flow inside. The result is an oceanic effect that is very effective in submerging the viewer visually and spatially in the experience of the environment. The blankets move in response to a coordinated system of lights and music. In this way I see this work as an intense choreographed dance executed by an arduino, with space blankets for limbs.


Soundmachines, by The Product Studio, is an interactive turn table. The project uses an arduino to collect and interpret signals of light and dark read off a spinning disk. Those signals are then sent to music software to generate sounds. There are three disks in all, each able to produce unique patterns of sound. The sleek design of this project attracted me, but for lasting impact I think the project needs more turntables with a wider range of sounds. At the moment, all of the music produced sounds computer generated and formulaic (there are only so many combinations of patterns in the three disks.) Adding organic instruments or even non-musical sounds could keep the project interactive longer. The project is meant to be successfully used by any one interacting with it, but I would like to see its effects if multiple people were to engage the instrument and generate music together instead of just one individual playing.



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