This project is a part of experiments done while doing an artist in residence at Instructables. You can see the other projects here.

Making a plant sing has been a trick since the Theremin was invented. Here I am going to teach you how to do this with and arduino board, a gameduino shield and a the touch shield from my previous instructable.

A short introduction to capacitance 
If two objects are conductive you can measure the capacitance between them (e.g. objects like: metal, water, human bodies and plants). By connecting a capacitance sensor to a plant we can detect if people are touching it and convert the touch into sound. Normally you would do this with a theremin like interface. 

With the introduction of the touché frequency principle by Disney Research lab we can now make a really stable solution that can run entirely on the Arduino platform. The Touché works on a similar principle as a normal theremin, but does a frequency sweep instead. By hooking the touché up to the plant we can measure the capacitative interaction and convert it into sound.

The singing plant as an artistic project has been done with multiple people as a member of illutron. I will just credit af few key people who I have worked with:  Åsmund Boye Kverneland, Nicolas Padfield, Thomas Jørgensen, Schack Lindemann, Thor Lentz, DZL, Vanessa Carpenter

Step 1: Components and tools

Components needed:
  • Arduino
  • Homemade touche shield (Instructable can be found here)
  • Gameduino (We are going to use it for sound).
  • Two buttons.
  • A couple of Alligator clips.
  • Two banana connectors.
  • Enclosure (I used a wooden box from http://www.containerstore.com/welcome.htm)

Components needed for the touche shield:
  • Prototyping shield
  • Pin headers
  • Resister: 10k, 1MOmh, 3,3k
  • Capacitor: 100pf, 10nf
  • Diode: 1N4148 diode
  • Coil / inductor: 10mH (cypax.dk  part no: 07.055.0510)

  • Basic soldering tools.
  • Wood working tools.
For the enclosure I lasercut an acrylic plate, but you could just as well use a piece of wood and cut it manually.

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Bio: IMPORTANT: Please do not message me personally with technical questions. Use the comments in the respective instructables. I really love sharing and helping people makes ... More »
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