Synthux Hackathon 2023

Gossiping tree

An interact sound installation where we give a voice to the plants.
Teensy Microcontroller
Proximity sensor
A habitat for coexistence
Sound art

Coaches & collaborators

Design Academy Eindhoven
Why do we humans feel more empathy towards animals than plants? Would we finally consider plants living beings with a communicative system, if we were able to hear their voices? What would plants sound like? What if plants could use sound to communicate with us? The Gossiping tree is an interactive installation that gives a voice to plants. We want to make humans aware of the aliveness of plants and show that plants are living beings with a voice inside. Plants are born without a way to express themselves. We gave plants a voice, come closer and hear the tree whisper to you.
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the tech

How does it work?

The three parts of our project are sound, movement, and sensors. For the movement of the plants, we send a 30 to 40 Hz sinewave to some base shakers. We attached these shakers to the plants so that they started shaking too. The sound design we did in Ableton. We sampled the sounds of the plants shaking and added a highly-pitched version over the original. This gave the sound the digital feel we were going for. For “the voice of the tree” we used reverb. The strength of the reverb depends on your distance from the tree. To detect your distance to the tree we used a distance sensor and a Teensy microcontroller. Ableton recognizes our Teensy as a MIDI device. This way we could get the values of the sensor into Ableton.
Open source code
Click here to grab this project's code
Music production program
Teensy Microcontroller
Proximity sensor
A proximity sensor detects movement
About the instrument
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