Bio · Design · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

A new industry born from the disaster — LED indoor farming

Humans have spent the last 10,000 years mastering agriculture. But a freak summer storm or bad drought can still mar many a well-planted harvest. Not anymore, says Japanese plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura, who has moved industrial-scale farming under the roof.

Working in Miyagi Prefecture in eastern Japan, which was badly hit by powerful earthquake and tsunamis in 2011, Shimamura turned a former Sony Corporation semiconductor factory into the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs. The special LED fixtures were developed by GE and emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth.

The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). It opened on July and it is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day. “I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen,” Shimamura says.

Read full article at GE

Bio · Design · Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Education · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

SCiO, the Pocket Molecular Sensor

A small consumer-level molecular scanner lets you analyze the objects around you for relevant information, from food calories or quality, medicine, nature, etc.

When you get your SCiO, you’ll be able to:

Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more.
See how ripe an Avocado is, through the peel!
Find out the quality of your cooking oil.
Know the well being of your plants.
Analyze soil or hydroponic solutions.
Authenticate medications or supplements.
Upload and tag the spectrum of any material on Earth to our database. Even yourself.

The Kickstarter was launched a few day ago and made it’s $200,000 goal within 24 hours – the potential for this tech is huge. Watch the video embedded below to see the potential:

Bio · Theory

Plants perform molecular maths

As if making food from light were not impressive enough, it may be time to add another advanced skill to the botanical repertoire: the ability to perform — at least at the molecular level — arithmetic division.

Computer-generated models published in the journal eLife illustrate how plants might use molecular mathematics to regulate the rate at which they devour starch reserves to provide energy throughout the night, when energy from the Sun is off the menu. If so, the authors say, it would be the first example of arithmetic division in biology.

But it may not be the only one: many animals go through periods of fasting — during hibernations or migrations, for example — and must carefully ration internal energy stores in order to survive. Understanding how arithmetic division could occur at the molecular level might also be useful for the young field of synthetic biology, in which genetic engineers seek standardized methods of tinkering with molecular pathways to create new biological devices. Text and Image via NATURE. Continue THERE

Film/Video/New Media · Sonic/Musical

The Reach Of Resonance

Filmed in ten countries, “The Reach Of Resonance” is a meditation on the meaning of music, which juxtaposes the creative paths of four musicians who use music to cultivate a deeper understanding of the world around them. Among them are Miya Masaoka using music to interact with insects and plants; Jon Rose, utilizing a violin bow to turn fences into musical instruments in conflict zones ranging from the Australian outback to Palestine; John Luther Adams translating the geophysical phenomena of Alaska into music; and Bob Ostertag, who explores global socio-political issues through processes as diverse as transcribing a riot into a string quartet, and creating live cinema with garbage.

By contrasting the creative paths of these artists, and an unexpected connection between them by the world renowned Kronos Quartet, the film explores music not as a form of entertainment, career, or even self-expression, but as a tool to develop more deeply meaningful relationships with people and the complexities of the world they live in. Text via

Bio · Digital Media · Technology

Robot-Readable Gardens

According to Tuinbouw Technisch Atelier BV, a Dutch company that advertises itself as “a leading supplier of equipment for handling and selection of young plants and other equipment for growers and industries,” the Combifix (above) is your best choice for consolidation of young plant trays.

The advantage of repairing Young Plant trays is an optimum use of available space and uniformity in plant material. Consequently, the market is asking for 100% filled young plant trays for use with automated transplanting. There’s no other machine on the market available with a higher capacity for fixing trays. The CombiFix is designed as a moveable small single frame (3,8 x 2,2 meter) in which all processes occur.

How does the CombiFix operate?

The CombiFix conveys the plug trays into the machine where the trays are qualified by a Vision based selection system. Based on the Vision selection criteria, each cell are determined to be Go or No Go. Waste plugs are removed from the tray by way of a pneumatic extraction system. After extraction, trays are moved into a donor and receiving position. Subsequently, the TTA plant grippers pick up plants from the donor tray with use of a pusher pin system. At the receiving tray, the empty cells are replaced with plants until it is 100% filled.

Bio · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Science · Theory

WHAT A PLANT KNOWS: A Field Guide to the Senses.

In grassy areas along the equator lives a tiny plant, Mimosa pudica, that has the captivating property of closing its leaves in response to touch. Rest a finger on one leaf, and that leaf and its neighbor will fold abruptly toward the stem. Brush your finger along the length of the stem and every pair of leaves will collapse in turn. For everyone who has wondered at Mimosa, the suddenly snapping Venus flytrap or the way a sunflower’s head unerringly turns to follow the sun, Daniel Chamovitz has written the perfect book.

What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses examines the parallels and differences between plant senses and human senses by first considering how we interpret sensory inputs and then exploring how plants respond to similar inputs. Each chapter covers one sense—sight, smell, touch and hearing are covered, along with “How a Plant Knows Where It Is” and “What a Plant Remembers”—and each examines a wide taxonomical range of flora and a complementary historical range of experiments. In the book’s introduction, Chamovitz is careful to clarify his intentions in using language that might be considered anthropomorphic to explore the world of plants:

When I explore what a plant sees or smells, I am not claiming that plants have eyes or noses (or a brain that colors all sensory input with emotion). But I believe this terminology will help challenge us to think in new ways about sight, smell, what a plant is, and ultimately what we are.

Excerpt from an article/review by Andrea Wills at American Scientist. Continue HERE

WHAT A PLANT KNOWS: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz.

Bio · Digital Media · Performativity · Sonic/Musical · Technology

BOTANICUS INTERACTICUS: Interactive Plant Technology

As Disney Research explains: “This instrumentation of living plants is simple, non-invasive, and does not damage the plants: it requires only a single wire placed anywhere in the plant soil. Botanicus Interacticus allows for rich and expressive interaction with plants. It allows to use such gestures as sliding fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp location, tracking proximity between human and a plant, and estimating the amount of touch contact, among others.

In Botanicus Interacticus we also deconstruct the electrical properties of plants and replicate them using standard electrical components. This allows the design of a broad variety of biologically inspired artificial plants that behave nearly the same as their biological counterparts. From the point of view of our technology there is no difference between real and artificial.

Botanicus Interacticus technology can be used to design highly interactive responsive environments based on plants, developing new forms of organic, living interaction devices as well as creating organic ambient and pervasive interfaces.”

Text and Image via Disney Research

Bio · Eco/Adaptable · Vital-Edible-Health

AirGrown: Growing Produce Out of Thin Air

“Aeroponic” is a method of growing plants in a soil-less environment, essentially in the air. Unlike traditional farming where plants are grown in soil and unlike hydroponics, where the plant root systems are immersed in a nutrient rich water bath. The patent pending AirGrown is a vertical aeroponic plant growing system in which the plant roots are allowed to grow in a hollow manifold that uses a programmed misting cycle to provide nutrient rich water directly to the plant roots. The AirGrown system also controls other essential growing elements such as water temperature and pH levels.

Text via AirGrown. Learm more HERE
Image:Scott Simmons, right, co-founder of AirGrown Systems and inventor of an aeroponic tower growing system. (via)

Animalia · Bio · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Philosophy · Theory

Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life. A Debate on Plant Ethics

“The following is a debate between Gary Francione, author of Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?, and several other titles, and Michael Marder, author of the forthcoming Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life.

The debate and the questions were inspired by Michael Marder’s controversial New York Times op-eds Is Plant Liberation on the Menu? and If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them? which generated a variety of responses from animal right advocates, philosophers, and others.”

How does plant ethics relate to veganism? Continue HERE

Bio · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Performativity · Technology · Videos

Jurema Action Plant

Jurema Action Plant is an interactive bio-machine. It consists in a customized machine which interfaces a sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica).

Jurema Action Plant aims to empower plants by enabling them to use similar technologies as humans use. It is also explores new ways of communication and co-relation between humans, living organism and a machine. Much like humans, animals and machines, the plants have an electrical signal traveling inside them, but they do not have nerves like humans and animals; nor wires and cables like machines. This electrical signal travels inside the cells of the plant. Inspired by this phenomenon, I collaborated with professor Bert van Duijn from the Biology University and the Hortus Botanicus, both from Leiden, on a research into the Action Potential of this plant. At V2_ , we settled upon a solution in which a signal amplifier reads the differences in the electromagnetic field around the plant to determine when it is being touched. These electromagnetic variations trigger movement of the robotic structure, on which the plant is situated, by means of a custom-made circuit board. The thresholds for response are set in such a way that only touching the plant makes it move away from the person touching it.

“Their movement however generally remains invisible to us, because their muscle and nerve-like systems operate at a very slow timescale and their rooting in soil confines their motion to the movement of branches and leaves. These restrictions give plants an enormous disadvantage compared to their main aggressors: animals and humans, in many instances resulting in a loss of biodiversity and even extinction.” (Michel van Dartel, curator V2)

To measure the Action Potential from the plant some electrodes are placed in its branches. When the leaves and branches of the plant are touched this signal changes. This electrical signal travels in the plant and the Action Potential can be measured in any part of the plant, not necessarily where the electrodes are placed. If the plants can fell the touch and this signal travels inside the plant and be can be measured in any part, does it means that plants have memory, consciousness?

Text and Images via Ivan Henriques’ Jurema Action Plant

Animalia · Architectonic · Design · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Science · Technology

Camel nostril inspires an audacious Sahara Forest plan to plant man-made oasis in the desert

Scientists inspired by a camel’s nostrils are set to achieve the impossible and grow a man-made forest in the desert.

The £3.3 million giant open-air greenhouse in Qatar will bring plant life to one of the most inhospitable spots on earth and it is all thanks to the humped mammal’s nose.

Using a trick of nature the Sahara Forest Project will use surface water and cold water pumped up from 200 metres below the sand to feed trees, vegetables and algae.

Written by Martin Robinson, Daily Mail. Read article HERE

Bio · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Science · Social/Politics · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

PlantLab, Growing Plants in the Dark, and the Plant Production Unit

In order to make plant production possible all over the world PlantLab delivers turnkey Plant Production Units. The cultivation units vary in size and consist of several cultivation layers on top of each other. The surface of 1 hectare cultivation area can consist of 10 modules of 1000 m² which are stacked on top of each other. The ultimate dimensions are determined based on cultivation wishes, climate wishes, investment costs, production expectations, internal transport, automation and suchlike.

Animalia · Blog-Sites · Design · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Paint/Illust./Mix-Media

PhyloPic: an open database of life form silhouettes

stores free silhouette images of animals, plants, and other life forms. All images are available for reuse under a Public Domain or Creative Commons license.

Bio · Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Technology

Plant Sends Tweets for Water

From SparkFun:

Botanicalls Kits let plants reach out for human help! They offer a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates to your mobile phone. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love. It comes as a kit so that you can hone your soldering skills (or teach someone else) while you build a line of communication between you and your houseplant!

This kit comes with everything you need to get your plant tweeting in no time. The ATmega328 comes pre-programmed, but you can customize it with your own messages. The only thing you need to provide is a plant, network connection (and Ethernet cable), and a power outlet.

Via ScienceBlogs