Design Studio III - Intervention I

During the second term, I found a fun way to interact and understand further how bacteria function in a specific environment, bacterial activity from soil that generate a small amount of power. I thought that it could be a fun way to learn about bacterial activity, electricity, components and the responsibility with working with creatures that are invisible to the human eye. Being aware of the low-power generated, I still found a lot of research valuing the potential of low-power systems and I didnĀ“t see it as an obstacle, as overall, my main goal wasn't optimising the system, I'm not an engineer. I just want to see if we can create systems of symbiosis that could benefit non-humans and humans, while exploring our relationships and collaborating with tiny tiny organism. So from this idea, I researched on ways to care and benefit the colony of bacteria. Therefore, the soil-powered humidity sensor is an attempt at describing this relationship of care between human-bacteria-machine. 

If you're asking yourself: does the soil battery turn off when the soil is dry, so the humidity sensor doesn't work? From my tests, the soil has to be incredibly dry for now voltage to pass through. Meaning the soil humidity sensor would stay ON a long time before actually not working anymore. But plz don't believe this is as accurate as a soil humidity sensor on the market, this intervention is purely experimental and doesn't look for accuracy. :)

The artifact:
LED is turned on when soil is not humid and deprives colony of bacteria from thriving. When water is poured, LED turns off and colony can continue to expand.

What I looked for in this intervention, was being able to send this video depicting my main ideas for this research to my communities of interest. Having a prototype that expresses my ideas helps me interact on a human level.

Ok. Now what?

Recently when talking to close friends, I found that the project was started to be a bit hard to approach. I was using very specific words and people lost interest due to the language barrier. As one of my community of interests are fellow designers, I would like to organise a workshop with professionals that have interest in prototyping technics with living organism, to reduce this barrier of knowledge diffusion. This would be my first test to explain my research to fellow artist and professionals, with a hands-on approach. 

To have an output that communicates easily with people, I was thinking of creating an earth instrument. The idea would be to prototype a few earth instrument doing a workshop and let the persons involve create their own tune together. Let's see if it works out.

This is the video where I found the circuit of the soil humidity sensor that works without Arduino

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