Like pets, many plants need to be taken care of constantly. If you go on vacation for a prolonged period of time, someone needs to stop by to water them—unless your plants happen to be hooked up to a series of sensors that allow you to take care of them remotely. Plant-In City, an installation on display in New York CIty, contains a series of modular terrariums filled with sensor-studded plants that can be monitored over the Internet.
Funded via Kickstarter, the Plant-In City project features interconnected Arduino-equipped planter frames with sensors that measure soil, water, and light. One type of planter contains soil plants and sensors, another comes with LED lighting, and a third has a water hook-up that creates a rain-like effect when plants are watered.
The Arduino connection means that the plants can be controlled from anywhere; a smartphone app keeps track of their vitals and allows plant guardians to adjust water and light settings. At the same time, the sensor data can be translated to light and sound, generating what the Plant-In City creators call "an imaginary vibrant wilderness."
Plant-In City’s creators—Huy Bui, Carlos Gomez, and Jon Schramm—describe their vision for a green city inside a gallery space on their Kickstarter Page: "In our installation we envision a dense, lush skyline, where water flows from one terrarium to another. Visitors to the space enter an immersive environment. Sounds of plants echo in their ears. Vibrant rays of light articulate every nuance of beauty that the eye can see."
Now, five months after the project was funded, that vision is a reality. Plant-In City is currently on display at the Mark Miller Gallery in New York City. Details are here.