Martin Howse: Earthcodes


Earthcode is a project by Martin Howse exploring the idea of producing a computer integrated with, and constructed from, the earth. The image above is from the Earthboot part of the project, the earth as OS, from the site:

“earthboot boots from the earth.

earthboot returns vampiric technology to the earth.

earthboot enables almost any computer to boot straight from the earth, sidestepping dirty mining actions, and the expensive refining and doping of raw minerals; thus avoiding environmentally wasteful production techniques for the construction of data bearing devices such as hard drives or USB memory sticks

Instead, earthboot boots straight from the earth itself, exploring the being-substrate of contemporary digital technology; the material basis of 21st century computation.

earthboot revives the use of underground flows of electricity or telluric currents which were first exploited as generators of power within the telegraphic communications apparatus of the 19th century.

earthboot proposes a barely functional telluric operating system (OS), exposing the vampirism of current technology. Telluric or underground currents are translated directly into code for an earthbound operating system.

The laptop, or PC, literally boots up directly from the specially designed, earthboot USB device pushed into the earth, running code which is totally dependent on small fluctuations in electric current within the local terrain.

Quite often the earthboot operating system is not always fully functional as expected. Crashing is the price to pay for booting straight from the earth.

A prototype has been constructed based on the ATMEGA32u4 which emulates a USB mass storage device, sampling earth voltages and converting these directly into instructions for an earthbooting computer. Preliminary tests for earthboot have proved successful using code based on the LUFA mass storage example.”

More information here:



An image of the (now broken) Symbiosis glasses prototype in action. Possibly relevant here to the idea of adjusting/enhancing perception/the senses.

Found in Kevin’s Flickr stream

This Weekend: Computational Rube Goldberg Transcoder

I’ll be running a workshop with Francesco this Saturday (25 Jan) 1-3pm in the Work in Progress show

Part workshop and part performance this is an exercise in creating (and disrupting) a sensor ⁄ signal loop.

Drawing from the idea of feedback loop and Rube Goldberg machine, we will be transcoding data from one platform to another, in a journey from digital signal to physical output and vice versa. There is no beginning or end but rather different platforms through which data can be input in the form of sound, colour, materials, lights, physical movements and so forth…

Anybody can and should intervene at any point to disrupt the transcoding of the signal and foster new serendipitous outcomes. Feel free to bring images, photos, instruments or just yourself.

Physical Computing & humanity.

From Angus’ Physical Computing seminar: Automation and responsive technology (automatic lights, for example) appeal to our failings – laziness, forgetfulness.