There is lots of kit involved in making 12 plants talk to each other.
The kits in participants homes are compact, and comprise of a small box with the watering button and disconnect button on, a water reservoir with a water pump in it, and a tube from the water reservoir to a water spout that sits on the plant pot, where the water comes out to water the plant.
Inside the box is a Rasberry Pi , which is a small computer designed for building small projects that have inputs (buttons) and outputs (water pump). The computer is wifi enabled, and so I can send data and read data from a website (opensensors.io), which is how the plants can talk to each other.
Watering the plants is easy as Pi!
Participants are keeping a diary throughout the study, to help log their activities, experiences and thoughts about the project.
In the garden
The plants pots in the garden have a button and spout integrated into the plant pot. The wires and tube for watering come through the hole in the bottom of the pot, and the pot is then bolted to the table.
The Raspberry Pi’s are housed in a waterproof Tupperware box under the table. There is also a bucket the pots share for the water reservoir.
It is easy and fun to use, so why not give it a go!