a trainable autonomous plant vase designed for the smart homes of tomorrow. The emergent behavior of ponyu plants shape the organic landscape of the home in response to human habits.
>> Our habits shape our environments
It is human nature to shape and reshape the environment to accommodate our desires. With the pervasiveness of the internet of things, there comes the implication of networked consequences in the physical objects we manufacture. How can we use those consequence so that the home of tomorrow can be shaped by the behavior of its inhabitants?
We chose plants as an intuitive, playful metaphor to manifest the evolution of a space through IOT. By ingraining a flock of everyday houseplants with basic autonomy, a small amount of intelligence and the ability to talk to each other - we created a trainable device that altered the organic landscape of a home in response to human nurture or neglect.
>> Core philosophies
Following the words of Simone Rebaudengo, we strove to design the ‘undone’ product. No two houses will have the shifting same landscape – Ponyu is an incomplete product until placed in the context of a home with humans.
Our commitment to designing products with interactions that are implicit to the original object itself. No external screens, no imposed buttons needed to train Ponyu, only what you were going to do anyway.
Our machine learning dream is to apply data to machine learning locally. Ponyu shapes the environment as a result of decentralized intelligence. One plant cannot know it all, but through simple proximity sensors and random walking, the flock of plants can teach each other the most ideal locations in a space.
The outcome of Ponyu is a result of emergent behavior. However, the rules that dictate that behavior and learning are simple and influencing Ponyu’s behavior is implicit within the affordance of the object itself.
>> The Brain
In the code of each Ponyu Arduino there are two core drives, the primary drive is thirst and the second is hunger (sun). Those drives are manifestations of four simple rules:
thirsty plants will move randomly around a space
Hydrated plants will drift (move slowly)
Thirsty plants drift when in the proximity of hydrated plants
Hydrated plants stop near a light source
As a result, the spaces you remember to take care of will slowly flourish with the immigration of plants – those forgotten places will become barren through an exodus. The greenery being the symbol the health of a space – plants become a metaphor for human nurture, where one spends the most time or thought within the home.
>> The Guts
>> The Body
>> Prototyping and Iterations
>> DO ANDROID PLANTS DREAM OF ARTIFICIAL SUNLIGHT?
Using processing to make simulations instead of physical products has been a saving grace. We can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to demo-ing systems level, emergent behavior with out needing to build the requisite number of prototypes.
This is a video of an interactive simulation of multiple plants in a space.
Each white dot represents a plant in the space that needs water and sunlight.
The white dots can be pressed to be watered, subsequently turning blue.
Blue dots near light turn green as a plant that has had both drives satisfied.