Sylva, 2021

An autonomous, hydroponic data-driven robotic garden.

Sylva represents an autonomous, immersive landscape built to honour the relationship between women, education, and technology. The constructed landscape is understood as synchronization of different parts of the ecosystem: the growth of plants, the movement of two robots, and a real-time soundscape and visualization. All these elements are influenced by the data of the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation laureate CAMFED – Campaign for Female Education that shows a positive impact of girls and young women’s education in Africa.
The two robotic arms water, distribute seeds and monitor the garden favouring the growth of specific plant species. Sylva's form materializes through parameters formulated using CAMFED's Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data. The growth of the hydroponic garden is influenced by data, data prediction and real-time interactions such as seeding and dispersion of nutrients.  These interactions are linked to the current state of the garden in correlation with the given and predicted data, and therefore, varied in colour tones. It is analyzed by the two robotic arms equipped with two primary sensor camera devices and a processor. For the robots to decide where to plant seeds and when to water the plants, they collect and sort this data to identify planting density and position patterns. For this, the system uses various machine vision and artificial intelligence algorithms based on a deep learning-based system for object recognition.
The sound that the audience hears is a real-time generated music piece that expresses the robot's visual perception in sound cues. Visitors, the plants, the position, and the actions of the robots all influence the soundscape surrounding Sylva.
 The relevance of robotics in the project is twofold: on the one hand, it reflects on the role of machines and sensor systems applied to monitoring and managing landscapes and the natural environment. On the other hand, the use of specific data sets influences the generated musical piece and facilitates and supports the growth of plants, and thus influences the physical nature of the landscape.

Event: Princess of Asturias Awards 2021
Location: Oviedo, La Fabrica
Design period: June 2021 – October 2021
Fabrication period: October 2021

A project by:
MAEID (büro für architektur und transmediale kunst)
Daniela Mitterberger, Tiziano Derme

Project team: Daniela Mitterberger, Tiziano Derme, Clemens Conditt

Structural system: Giovanni Trinetti
Visual interface: Andrea Reni
Music and sound design: LOREM, Luca Pagan
AI and machine vision system: Martin Gasser

Sponsored by: ABB, Inxpect