Arduinos are small computers that can be programed to monitor, alert, and trigger reactions in a system. Bowman Creek interns utilized these computer boards to monitor moisture in rain gardens, design a new instrument for the Grammy winning quartet, Third Coast Percussion, and conduct Arduino technology workshops for students.
Moisture sensors were installed in 3 rain gardens in the Southeast Neighborhood. As you read this, they are collecting and sending us moisture data wirelessly. Below is a schematic of the sensors in an actual rain garden in the Southeast Neighborhood.
The water instrument designed for Third Coast Percussion worked as intended. It included 53 rhythm patterns and 120 instruments that could be switched through buttons and touching the outside of the water container.
Angry Plant Demo
This a video demo of "The Angry Plant." When left alone, the plant plays relaxing forest sounds. When touched by a curious passerby, the plant lets out an angry shout! The demo uses two Arduino Unos, which are types of microcontrollers. The first stores the sound files on a micro SD card, and plays them through an AUX cord when given a signal. The second controller senses the capacitance of the plant, and sends a signal to the first to play a screaming sound when the capacitance value changes. This system works with anything that is conductive (like the human body), and uses technology similar to the touch screen on your phone! (Although at a much simpler level.)