Charlie Williams

Biomimetic electronics

Aug-Sept 2018 I am an Artist in Residence at Wageningen University (NL). I will be collaborating with scientists from Synthetic Biology, Plant Science and Agro Food Science Research Groups to create an installation responding to ideas within the scientists' research.

My initial inspiration for the project came from hearing Suzanne Simard (University of British Columbia) on the excellent Radiolab podcast. She says

All the trees in a forest were connected in a kind of network… like our airport system, our transportation system, our social networks.

My takeaways:

  • Trees are connected by mycorrhizae into a fungal network,
  • We are connected by technology into a human super-organism, so…
  • How can we use technology to represent the parallel between these connections?

I am creating a colony of electronic "organisms" which communicate using light; replacing the chemical signals used in nature with infrared pulses. Each organism is a biomorphic circuit board holding a changing pattern of lights. What the boards say to each other changes the characteristics of their light patterns, which in turn causes meta-patterns to emerge and move across the work.

More to come as the project continues…

50% PCB design
50% Embedded systems programming
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