PLANT SONIFICATION — DATA GARDEN — MIDI SPROUT — using tropical plants to control midi synths in real-time, and getting excellent, soothing music

Beginning the global DIY-Biofeedback movement.

Using tropical plants to control MIDI synths in real-time involves connecting the plants to biofeedback devices that can interpret the plants’ electrical responses to stimuli as MIDI signals. These signals then control musical synthesizers to create live music, effectively allowing the plants to “perform” based on their interactions with their environment and humans. This innovative approach blends biology with technology to explore new forms of musical expression and deepen our understanding of plant life.


The MIDI Sprout is a unique device that translates the electrical signals generated by plants into MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data, allowing users to create music in real-time using the biofeedback from living plants. Here’s how it works:

1. **Electrodes and Sensors**: The MIDI Sprout includes electrodes or sensors that are attached to the leaves or stems of plants. These electrodes measure the electrical conductivity or fluctuations in the plant’s bioelectric signals, which are influenced by various factors such as light, temperature, moisture, and even the plant’s internal processes.

2. **Signal Processing**: The MIDI Sprout processes the raw electrical signals obtained from the plant’s electrodes and converts them into MIDI data. This data can include information such as pitch, tempo, dynamics, and other musical parameters.

3. **MIDI Output**: The MIDI data generated by the MIDI Sprout is then sent to a MIDI-compatible synthesizer, computer software, or other electronic musical instruments. Users can connect the MIDI Sprout to their preferred music production setup to control synthesizers, samplers, or digital audio workstations (DAWs) in real-time.

4. **Music Creation**: With the MIDI Sprout connected to a synthesizer or music software, users can experiment with different sounds, melodies, and rhythms based on the biofeedback from the plant. Changes in the plant’s bioelectric signals can result in corresponding changes in the music being produced, creating a dynamic and interactive musical experience.

The MIDI Sprout has been used in various contexts, including art installations, performances, and therapeutic settings, to explore the relationship between plants, humans, and music. Its ability to generate soothing, organic sounds based on the subtle electrical activity of plants can provide a unique and immersive musical experience, blurring the boundaries between nature and technology.

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