Univ. of Wolverhampton Crop Technology Unit


Building upon work begun in spring 2008, Professor Trevor Hocking offered to host Collins, Goto and Dalgleish in the University of Wolverhampton’s Crop Technology Unit (CTU) in Compton.  At the CTU we were able to sustain specimens in greenhouses and run experiments in climate controlled light chambers throughout the winter. This opportunity was essential to continue work begun in California. Working in a controlled environment allowed us to refine the system and testing methods, reviewing the data sets and sound experiments with the support of Prof Hocking. This controlled setting helped us to refine our attention and understanding of trees and their reactions to to carbon dioxide, light and temperature as well as season.


In California Collins, Goto and Matthew Dalgleish had concluded that to achieve real time sound the interface had be rethought and rebuilt. After various hardware experiments Dalglieish began work with ‘arduino-microprocessors’ an open source embedded computing device. Sensor data would be transferred through the ‘arduino’ to a laptop computer. Dalgleish developed the hardware connection and wrote new software to produce the real-time sound with MaxMSP, an interactive multi media, hardware and software authoring tool. In January 2009 the systems began to work, (although it would require further development through 2010.) In February and March 2009 the team began to refine the prototype, integrating the power supplies, running final tests on the sensors and the cabling. In May they began to redesign plan a reconstruction of a plein air painting easel scaled to organize the equipment and create a historically referential sculptural focal point for the art/science endeavour. (Completed in autumn 2009.)

Working with Prof Hocking

The work with Prof Hocking has added an essential layer of scientific rigour. He has also added incredible depth to what we understand about plants and their health and well being. He has dedicated his life to sensitive empirical study, attending to a broad range of physiological reactions and their indications in plants

He has also begun to help us think through other systems and the method and means to upscale the project for public presentation.

the UK Native trees

Initial experiments in spring 2008 began with the following native trees purchased from a Shropshire nursery. These trees remain with the project.

For work in the dead of winter a holly tree and an olive tree were added to the mix.

birch treebirch-tree

field maple treefield-maple-tree

Oak tree

ash tree ash-tree

pine treepine-tree