Cardiff pupils help develop new app showing what plants sound like

July 24, 2012 No Comments »

Pupils look at the Plant Player app they helped to create (left) and project manager Adam Williams presents Greenway Primary School with their own plant sensor (right). Pictures by Helen James.

A Cardiff primary school has taken part in an innovative new project finding ways to use the masses of data we generate every day.

Stats in Sound saw children from Cardiff’s Greenway Primary School in Rumney work with Community Music Wales, learning how to record sounds, videos and images to collect information about the environment around them.

They then travelled to the National Botanic Gardens and Wentloog Environment Centre where they learned how to use sensors to collect information from plants, tracking the process of photosynthesis through measurements such as temperature, light levels and humidity

The pupils took the photos, sounds, and data they had collected and made a series of films which will be shown to visitors at the National Botanic Gardens, while the information collected by the sensors they put in place has also been used by artist Matt Jackson to develop a new “plant player” app.

Plant Player produces different types of music depending on the speed and progress of the photosynthesis process, and can be listened to at any time on the Stats in Sound website.

Matt said: “We wanted to capture how the plant was reacting to its environment and represent this in sound or music. We looked at the most important aspects of the plant environment for photosynthsis.

“Readings from the soil and plant give us an idea of how happy the plant is over all, and I did some composition based on this. Depending on how the plant is feeling, it creates its own composition from the data collected by the sensors.”

Percussive sounds represent the chemical reaction inside the plant. If there’s no light, for example, then these will die down. If it’s really cold you will hear howling wind, or if it is hot, you will hear sizzling.

Stats in Sound project manager Adam Williams said the initiative gave the children involved an opportunity to learn about their environment, as well as teaching them about how technology and data can be used.

He said: “Data has become such an important part of our lives – we all create data – and it’s only going to get bigger and bigger. We wanted to show the children they could be creative with computers and technology, rather than just using it to do work progressing or look on Facebook.”

To find out more about the project, you can visit the Stats in Sound website.

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