Introduction: Electronic Terrarium

I’m creating an interactive electronic terrarium. When people touches the terrarium, the lights start to breath and a leaf appears in the sand.

Normally, people put plants or plastic plants in terrariums to create a small concentrated nature environment. I think the interesting point of a terrarium is the glass vase isolates the ordinary objects from the real world and frames the objects for people to take a close look. My idea is to include electronic components into a terrarium for people to appreciate the aesthetic aspects of technology. Also, I also want to express technology is alive in another way.

I used an Attiny as micro-controller, flexinol as heating element and thermochromic sand as output.

Things you need:

Attiny45, Arduino(to load the code to Attiny)

Transistor (Tip120)



Resistors(100 ohm x 1, 100k ohm x 1, 1Mohm x 10)

Coin battery (holder), 9V battery

Sand, Thermochromic Ink, Regular paint

Flexinol, A piece of fabric, crimp beads

Vase, copper tape

Step 1: Dye the Sand

Picture of Dye the Sand

Mix thermochromic dye with regular paint. Add the mixture to the sand and let dry. The color of trermochromic dye will fade when heated.

Step 2: Sew the Flexinol

Picture of Sew the Flexinol

Draw a shape as your choice on a piece of fabric. Sew the flexinol onto the fabric. Seal the two end with crimp beads. Test the result use a 9v battery.

Step 3: Tape the Vase

Picture of Tape the Vase

Use copper tape to outline your desire touching point.

Step 4: Code

Picture of Code

Use Arduino to load the code to the Attiny. Here is a tutorial about how to work with Attiny.

Step 5: Solder Everything

Picture of Solder Everything

Step 6: Put Everything In

Picture of Put Everything In

Arrange the parts as you like. Glue some parts on the vase if you want to. At last, add the sand in and leave a thin layer on the heating part.

Step 7: Connect Battery and DONE

Picture of Connect Battery and DONE


tomatoskins (author)2015-12-22

Really fun and different project! Thanks for sharing!

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