ERU: The Lorax Plant

Part 3 of the Electronics for the Rest of Us series

Team and authors: Jess and Kara

After looking through various projects on the Arduino webpage and other sites, projects using live plants have caught our attention. Most designers that have created sound-producing plants seem to attach a MaKey MaKey to the plant and connect it to the Arduino set equipped with an audio shield in order to have proper programming and audio. The Makey Makey conducts electrical signals, so that any conductive surface it is connected to can act as a touch interface. When the plant is tapped, a noise is produced. Our own personal spin on the project has the plant as Truffulas tree and the flower pot as the Lorax, an classic Dr. Seuss character. When a branch of the plant is brushed, a quote for the movie The Lorax would be played aloud.

Another way to have a quote be played, instead of using the MaKey MaKey would be to use the flex resistor, or perhaps multiple, in order to incorporate more than one quote. It can be stuck to the underside of a plant leaf, and when it is bent, a signal would be sent to the Arduino board indicating a change in resistance to activate a sound. Perhaps a branch of the plant could even be chosen as the “arm” of the Lorax, and viewers could be asked to shake his hand! This is a more cost effective way of having our project come to life. The audio shield would still be required to produce the sound. An image of this audio shield is attached at the end of this e-mail. A simple free recording software can easily be used to record the phrases. By the end, we hope to have a talking Lorax, one who can “speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues!”

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