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Enabling Mixed Societies of Communicating Plants and Artefacts

Objective

The aim of this project is to enable the development of synergistic, scalable mixed communities of communicating artefacts and plants. Current Research efforts are targeting the 'disappearance' of the computer into the fabric of our environment. In the future, spaces we live in will be populated by thousands of 'artefacts' with the ability to sense and actuate in their environment, to perform localised computation, to communicate, even collaborate, with each other. However, this focus provides no link between the ambient electronics environment and nature. Understandably given the scope of the challenge, most current research is carried out in enclosed laboratories, offices, and artificial living spaces; as a result, meaningful interfaces to nature are missing, with plants and other living organisms being viewed, inappropriately, as inert within the space. There is high potential in creating synergies between living organisms outside the human form and ambient systems capable of observing unpredictable behaviour, and interacting, in a contextual manner. This project will seek to investigate this by narrowing the focus specifically to plant-life. The aim of this project is to enable the development of synergistic, scalable mixed communities of communicating artefacts and plants. Current Research efforts are targeting the 'disappearance' of the computer into the fabric of our environment. In the future, spaces we live in will be populated by thousands of 'artefacts' with the ability to sense and actuate in their environment, to perform localised computation, to communicate, even collaborate, with each other.

OBJECTIVES
The project will investigate methods of creating "interfaces" between artefacts and plants, to enable people to form mixed, interacting communities. The objectives of this project are:
- To study plant eco-systems in order to understand sensing and communication mechanisms that will be used as models for specification of plant-artefact interfacing mechanisms;
- To develop biosensor networks that will be implanted around and in plants to transform biological signals into digital signals;
- To develop biosensor and bio actuator networks that will permit artefacts to induce complex responses from plant-life and to perceive their environment in a plant-like way;
- To implement middleware (ePlantOS) to integrate complex distributed systems of sensors and artefacts into a balanced eco-system for non-predictive study of plant-life and interaction with its environment (people included);
- To create two demonstrators, the first to focus upon applications such as crop management and the second to implement a real-life scenario with interactive plants and artefacts. For example, a suitable framework for application and evaluation may be human environments (i.e. home, office, public recreation spaces).

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The project research and development effort will be distributed among a number of tasks, which will run in parallel throughout the project. This is because we believe that there will be a continuous interplay and exchange among research, modelling, design, development and evaluation activities. The major activities we foresee in the work plan are:
- A comprehensive study of plant bio-systems, focussing on plant communication, life cycle and behaviour;
- Specification and refinement of scenarios that will demonstrate the aspects and results of the project;
- Design and development of the components (ePlantOS and eArtefactOS) of the distributed artefact-plant interactive middleware;
- Design and development of biosensor and bio actuator networks to interface between the bio-system and the artefacts, from both the plant (signal and response) perspective and the artefact (sense and actuation) perspective;
- The scaled development from single to mixed plant cultures, and the scaled development from autonomous biosensor and bio actuator networks to complex mixed artefact systems;
- Integration of results into mixed plant-artefact communities and evaluation based on the objectives of the selected scenarios.
The proposed duration of the project is 36 months. As the partners progress through the work, effort will shift from study and specification tasks to design, development, and integration and evaluation tasks.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK
Address
Western Road
Cork
Ireland

Participants (3)

EDEN PROJECT LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address

PL24 2SG Bodelva, Cornwall
RESEARCH ACADEMIC COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Greece
Address
N. Kazantzaki, Campus Of Rio Patras
26500 Rio Patras
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK
Ireland
Address
Western Road
Cork