Palm Reading

06.18.18 – 07.01.18 //  Palm Reading  // generates abstract visual art in Unity from the bioelectricity measured from palm tree fronds on Koh Lon island

BIO  //  Jessica + Sebastian make digital art together at their studio in Atlanta called INTO OUTOF

Sebastian Monroy has an MS in Computer Graphics and makes generative art and interactive art in Unity. Check out his work @smokelore

Jessica Anderson has an MS in Digital Media, helps direct the Spelman College Innovation Lab, and tries to keep it real. She claims to be a thinker + maker + designer + lover. That means she’s head-first in concept art, fabricating installation stuff like domes and projection surfaces, designing interactions that are meaningful, and loving with her whole heart. Check out Jessica’s work jessicology.com

///////////////////////////////// We were inspired by @DrBeef on twitter //

https://twitter.com/DrBeef_/status/965796672943964167

We’re also inspired by the bio-diversity on the island, and how different tropical plants might express themselves through the patterns in their electrical activity. To understand how to get the most accurate measurements of electrical activity in plants, we used non-invasive extracellular recording using Backyard Brains’ Plant Spiker Box.

We're using this thread on electronics stackexchange 
to learn about how to measure the electricity from foliage.

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/85342/
detect-electrical-signals-from-plants
We're also using a paper by Jorg Fromm & Silke Lautner 
"Electrical signals and their physiological significance 
in plants" (2006) 
to learn about plant bioelectricity.

 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2006.01614.x

/////////////////////////////////

We test the hardware at home. This gives you an idea of what the measurements look like on screen. The output is an audio file.
Spiker box prep on site
Waterproofed and ready for monsoon (in a ziploc kind of way). Here, the ground wire is pinned into the trunk and the sensor wire is wrapped around a frond that is lower on the tree. The board is zip-tied to the trunk. We got a good, pretty clean readings from lower, middle, and higher fronds.

We tried recording from the board into a field recorder with an audio cable. That data was too noisy. We tried recording with the app using my Android phone — not quite readable. We ended up using the USB to record right into the laptop. This gave the cleanest results.

We wanted to record for days at a time, but the constraints put us at recordings of 3-5 hours at a time. Because the recording is a wav file, Sebastian parsed the data before we had values that we could use.

Tasneem got a shot of us in the act!

After moving out to the SY Diva Andaman workspace, we were inspired by the movement of the waves in and out, leaving saturated traces, and iterated through a few visual styles.

/////////////////////////////////

These are some of the results, with the plant’s electrical data determining the colors on the first video and color along with more attributes on the second as well as lighting.

View this post on Instagram

18.06.28 color mesh by plants⠀ .⠀ added mesh warping and cloning, lighting and shadows.⠀ .⠀⠀ collaboration with @mommas_momma! the colors in this visualization are determined by a stream of plant action potential data recorded by a Plant Spikerbox. @digital.naturalism.conference @backyardbrains @diva.marine.learning.lab⠀ @sy_diva_andaman⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #dataviz #datavisualization #plant #bioelectricity #DiNaCon #digitalnaturalism #spikerbox #plantspikerbox #madewithunity #unity3d #creativecoding #codeart #computationalart #generative #generativeart #generativedesign #computergraphics #digitalmedia #newmedia #newmediaart #algorithmicart #geometricart #instaart #abstractart #parametric #procedural #livevisuals #realtime #xuxoe #smokeloreportfolio

A post shared by Sebastian Monroy (@smokelore) on

This is the final draft (for the moment) —

View this post on Instagram

18.07.09 DiNaCon . had the pleasure of attending the @digital.naturalism.conference in Thailand along with a bunch of brilliant and beautiful people. @mommas_momma and I measured the bioelectricity in a palm plant and used the data to control various parameters of this visualization. the hue, saturation, brightness, radius, and wiggliness of these weird forms is being controlled by that data. the data is played back in real time. . the first visualization is from a lower leaf on the palm, the second is from a higher one, third is a side-by-side comparison. I was excited to see that they each have their own character! I didn't expect two leaves on the same plant to express themselves so differently. 😊 . . . #dataviz #datavisualization #plant #bioelectricity #DiNaCon #digitalnaturalism #spikerbox #plantspikerbox #madewithunity #unity3d #creativecoding #codeart #computationalart #generative #generativeart #generativedesign #computergraphics #digitalmedia #newmedia #newmediaart #algorithmicart #geometricart #instaart #abstractart #parametric #procedural #livevisuals #realtime #xuxoe #smokeloreportfolio

A post shared by Sebastian Monroy (@smokelore) on

/////////////////////////////////
And the best part is sharing our process, wandering, and inquiry with the creative, intelligent, open-minded fellow DiNasaurs 🙂

//////////////// THE FUTURE //////////////////

We’re planning to complete the same experiment with a potted palm that lives on our terrace in Midtown Atlanta to compare how a city palm and a jungle palm might differ or resemble one another when their electrical activity is compared using the same parameters. We want to print these Palm Readings and show them off. We’d like to use the art prints as a target for an augmented reality component that shows the animating 3 dimensional aspect of the piece. Stay tuned. We’ll be kicking off the urban Palm Reading soon!

/////////////////////////////////

LET’S TALK! [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *