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CONVECO

2021

Collaborated with Jessica Evans, Liv Tsim, Maria Li, Nicole Hakim, Oladeji Awe, Yilin Han

 

Conveco is a translation device that supports the collection and translation of intelligence between plant species, improving each plant's capacity to thrive within its ecosystem. 

Conveco collects, translates and shares intelligence between species, improving each plant's capacity to thrive within their ecosystems. Attached to a plant’s leaf, our bioskin reads the electrical current naturally emitted by plant cells. Data is then collected and sent to our main console. The console, or motherboard, receives, stores, analyzes and redistributes knowledge between the

plants. Simultaneously, data is projected to a smart graphics screen, allowing for live observation.

A pathway for communication, Conveco encourages plants to mimic other’s behaviors, improving their capacity to

over-come unfavorable conditions through quick adaptation to their environments. Benefits include two- way communication over far distances, increased carbon intake and accelerated soil remediation. We will better understand the language of plants, influencing how we battle climate change in the future.

Plants have been affected by climate change and human in many ways. From contaminated soil with heavy metals, microplastics and chemicals like pesticides to pollution and deforestation, there has been evidence of plant's growth, nutrients, colors and even natural processes being affected by bad conditions in their ecosystems. By understanding the primary causes of these environmental problems, we started our machine contribute to helping our planet and having a positive impact. The possibility of using electrical signals to create a language between humans and plants was being explored but what if we could create a way that plant species far away from each other could also communicate and share knowledge? What if a strong dominant species could transmit its to species affected by contaminated soil and help it re-develop.

Bio skin is a special sensor that monitors bioelectricity more promptly and accurately through direct contact with the leaf surface of plants, and uses bioelectric pulses to perceive the health status of plants and detect plant timely reaction, responding to various dynamic indicators of the environment. In general plant communication, plants secrete ethylene below the ground which not only allows them to absorb nutrients, but also obtain the information of the other plants and thus use the signals to prepare for future competition. Apart from chemical substance, the plants via thread-like filaments of fungi, that connect roots in complicated communication networks, and are able to distinguish if they are surrounded by other species or those from the same kind. Their reaction can be obviously recognised by physical reaction, like canopy shyness and aggression. 

 

Today, Bioskin is perceived as an artificially functional organ of plants, which sort their electrical signal into a data stream and not only allow human to observe a specific plant, but also analyse the overall dynamics and development of the plant community. Our designed sensors are designed as an integration with three different layers, consisting of PV Solar Tape, Toner & Graphene and Bio Plastic from top to bottom. The PV Solar Tape is a flexible organic solar cell foil with optional semi-transparent lined adhesive on the back or front side. It can provide stable electrical supply in our bioelectric system and thus transmit electric signals to the console, supporting the electrical communication flow. The second layer constructed by Toner & Graphene can sensitively receive and respond to various electrical signals by electricity conduction. Toner is a conductive material and we use toner printing to form a tiny, remote and closed circuit. Graphene is an one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, as an allotrope of carbon in the form of a plane of sp2-bonded atoms with a molecular bond length of 0.142 nanometres. Because of its extremely low resistivity and fast electron movement, the mixture of Toner and Graphene is expected to serve as an extraordinarily thin and fast conductive electronic components or transistors.  The bottom layer, bio plastic, is formed by very thin chitin and attach on the plant surface.  Nowadays, the bioplastics have multiple advantages such as eco-friendly, renewed easily and non-toxic. Chitin, as the second most abundant polysaccharide, is synthesized by an enormous number of living organisms including fungi and insects. This layer will be excellently biocompatible with plant.