(3/25_Updated_footage version)

It’s a project of material experiment and mycelium network simulation. The ultimate goal is to pull closer humans’ relationship with fungus, increase awareness, and explore the usage of mycelium by holding workshop and gathering public source.



material experiment

In 2007, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre noticed mycelium’s self-assembling glue-like character. By growing mycelium with agricultural byproducts, they discovered a biological, durable, and compostable material that performs, and they found a company called ecovatice. Their products are pressed with pressure during production, and are thick, chunky, and volumetric. Inspired by artist Eric Klarenbeek‘s 3D printed case with straw, I guessed as long as I follow the principle that “mycelium digests nutrient and water and grows harder”, the process of production can be free-formed and without boundary. So I gave it a try.


For the blender part, the ratio of mycelium+straw & water is approximately 2:1.

Hang the balls in a separated area in order to avoid be contaminated. And after 3~5 days the ball will become obvious white, showing the growing of mycelium.

After 10 days, harvest the balls and pop the balloons, and voila!

Put them aside and dry their interiors for a day(because they were blocked by the balloon).








mycelium network

I’m also interested in how mycelium communicates with each others. The roots of most land plants are colonised by mycorrhizal fungi that provide mineral nutrients in exchange for carbon, and based on “Underground signals carried through common mycelial networks warn neighbouring plants of aphid attack” on Ecology Letter, by Zdenka Babikova, Lucy Gilbert, Toby J. A. Bruce,3 Michael Birkett, John C. Caulfield, Christine Woodcock, John A. Pickett and David Johnson, mycorrhizal mycelia can also act as a conduit for signaling between plants, acting as an early warning system for herbivore attack.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 10.39.44 AM

The experiment is based on the fact that Vicia Faba will emit plant volatiles, particularly methyl salicylate, making this bean plants repellent to aphids but attractive to aphid(bugs) enemies such as parasitoids. It sets up 5 Vicia Faba, having only one of them attacked by aphids,  and having it either connected to other plants with roots or without roots, with mycelium or without mycelium(as picture right above). And the result(as picture left above) shows that the plants, which are connected to the Donor(infested w/ aphids) by mycelium, act same as the Donor, producing volatiles to repel aphids and attract aphids’ enemy. It means This underground messaging system allows neighboring plants to invoke herbivore defenses before attack.

It interests me a lot, and I want to use it as the content to inform people about the amazing behavior of fungus by visualizing the network of mycelium. The idea is–>

  1. when there’s no one around, the mycelium bulb will breathe in its own pattern, presenting w/ LEDs, and there is a video playing footages of fungus & mycelium life.
  2. once someone comes near, the mycelium bulbs will communicate with each other, lighting up and off one by one, and the video will change to broadcast the human-related footages(e.g. garbage, oil spill, and mycoremediation).

2014-03-12 09.48.46

footage Breathing, password: fungus

footage Awarepassword: fungus



And here are my Arduino code. I wrote digitalWrite into PMW pins.

//#include <LED.h>
#include <NewPing.h>

#define TRIGGER_PIN 8
#define ECHO_PIN 7
#define MAX_DISTANCE 30

//for ultrasonic sensor
int value;
int interval;  //to trigger the change of LEDs

//for smoothing
const int numReadings = 5;
int readings[numReadings];
int oriReading;
int index = 0;
int total = 0;
int average = 0;

int ledPins[] = { 
  3,5,6,9,10,11 };

int lastFade[6] = {
int level[] = {
  10, 23, 45, 50, 100, 205};

int maxV = 220;
int minV = 5;

//slope & intercept
double ain[6], bin[6], aex[6], bex[6];

double inTime[] = {
  1500, 1700, 1900, 2000, 2100, 2300};
double pauseTime[] = {
  350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600};
double outTime[] = {
  2000, 2200, 2400, 2500, 2600, 2800};
double thirdT[6], cycleT[6];
double levels[6];

boolean lightUp[6];
int awareTime[] = {
  0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5};
int awareOriTime[] = {
  0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5};

void setup() {

  for(int i=0; i<numReadings; i++){
    readings[i] = 0;

  for(int i=0; i<6; i++) {
    pinMode(ledPins[i], OUTPUT);

    thirdT[i] = inTime[i] + pauseTime[i];
    cycleT[i] = inTime[i] + pauseTime[i] + outTime[i];

    ain[i] = (maxV - minV)/inTime[i];
    bin[i] = minV;
    aex[i] = (minV - maxV)/outTime[i];
    bex[i] = maxV - aex[i]*(inTime[i]+pauseTime[i]);

    lightUp[i] = false;

unsigned long tstart[6];
double time;

void loop() {

  //ultrasonic sensor
  oriReading =;
  value = (int) oriReading/US_ROUNDTRIP_CM;

  for(int thisChannel=0; thisChannel<6; thisChannel++) {

    //if detect ppl, all light up
    if(value > 0) {

      //if time can be dividable by 60
      if ( (awareTime[thisChannel])%6 == 0 ) {
        lightUp[thisChannel] = !lightUp[thisChannel];

      if(lightUp[thisChannel] == true)
        levels[thisChannel] = 255;
        levels[thisChannel] = 0;

      analogWrite(ledPins[thisChannel], levels[thisChannel]);

      //determin whether to restart the cycle of time
      awareTime[thisChannel] += 1;

      if( awareTime[thisChannel] >= (180) )
        awareTime[thisChannel] = awareOriTime[0];

    //if not, do LED pattern
    else {

      if (lastFade[thisChannel] <= inTime[thisChannel]) {
        levels[thisChannel] = int( ain[thisChannel]*lastFade[thisChannel] + bin[thisChannel] );
      else if (lastFade[thisChannel] <= thirdT[thisChannel]) {
        levels[thisChannel] = maxV;
      else {
        levels[thisChannel] = int( aex[thisChannel]*lastFade[thisChannel] + bex[thisChannel] );

      analogWrite(ledPins[thisChannel], levels[thisChannel]);

      //determin whether to restart the cycle of time
      if(lastFade[thisChannel] >= cycleT[thisChannel]) {
        lastFade[thisChannel] = 0;
        tstart[thisChannel] = millis();
      else {
        lastFade[thisChannel] = millis() - tstart[thisChannel];


And my Processing code to switch footages based on the Serial signal got from Arduino.

import processing.serial.*;
import java.awt.MouseInfo;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.Collections;
import java.awt.Rectangle;

Movie aware;
Movie grow;
boolean playGrow = true;

Serial myPort;

void setup() {
  size(displayWidth, displayHeight);
  if (frame != null) {
  // Load and play the video in a loop
  aware = new Movie(this, "aware_2.mp4");
  grow = new Movie(this, "grow_v2.mp4");

//  println(Serial.list());
  String portName = Serial.list()[5];
  myPort = new Serial(this, portName, 9600);

void movieEvent(Movie m) {;

void draw() {
    image(grow, 0, 0, width, height);
    image(aware, 0, 0, width, height);

void serialEvent (Serial myPort) {
  int inByte =;

  if (inByte > 10)
    playGrow = false;
    playGrow = true;


void keyPressed() {
  if(key == '1')
    playGrow = true;
  if(key == '2')
    playGrow = false;

int mX;
int mY;

boolean sketchFullScreen() {
  return true;

void mouseDragged() {

public void init() {



photos of Fabrication2014-03-11 12.19.29

2014-03-12 00.24.24






For further development, I’m thinking about maybe cooperate with Kate‘s “mushroom craft” and have some craft workshops! After all the process of making those mycelium light bulbs, I’ve been through the fabrication works which I’ve never tried before, and it felt great! I think direct “Hand” touch is the most effective way to pull closer the relationship between people and materials.

By starting the production from searching and growing the material, we can appreciate more about the resource we take from nature and also be more aware about the environmental issues. Not just sitting there receiving the news from TV, but actually  caring and being aware of it because you feel it affecting the fabrication process directly. Maker/Crafter spirit is one of the answer to the future.

mushroom. intervention. systemic.

First thought after reading “Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species”, Arts of Inclusion, or, How to Love a Mushroom”, and the interview with Oliver during weekend is that, I kind of found the purpose of a project, what can I do about it and what’s the possible future of a project. As an artist, I can start from


, start from developing deeper and knowing thoroughly about what I love, and then gradually, with the creative interventions, I can bridge worlds between public and the field where my passion lies.  Quoted from Anna “… my stories tell how advocacy for mushrooms can lead to projects for democratic science and publicly inclusive wellbeing.“, I’m inspired to search what I’m crazy about and immerse myself in it. Before that, I don’t really understand the goal of this class now I’ve found it. It’s not about just trying to use fungi in your projects and trying to involve Led, motor, Arduino, but trying to intervene this mysterious field with your point of view. Then as a messenger, you expose the rarely-knew info and make it connect to the public.

Thus, simplifying and more comprehensive project update:

2014-02-19 08.08.44


  • One line description: See the world through fungus.
  • I want to build up connections between fungus and people, and further take fungus as a bridge to connect people with the world beyond fungus. Thus being aware of what fungus is, what fungus does, how does it affect the planet.
  • The idea is playing with the notions from “Mycelium Running” by Paul Stamets,
    • I see the mycelium as the Earth’s natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape.
  • One particular thing I’d love to highlight is fungus’s decomposing ability. It is the key of the nutrient cycling system, and also degrade or remove toxins from the environment.
  • So yes, it’s a project with eco-friendly aspect and hope people will be more aware of the environmental issue.


  • Upon a box of soil, are 5~8 mycelium lights hanging and changing between bright and dim gradually.
  • In the background screen, playing the collage of the mycelium activities(growing, moving, etc) video footages, representing fungus’s daily life.
  • Once  someone comes near(detected by ultrasonic sensor), the mycelium lights speed up changing, and forming a pattern of spreading. Also, the screen’s content turns to show the interactions between fungus and humankind, including foraging, pollution, infection, bio-chemical etc.
  • If time permits, the soil will be pushed by the solenoids beneath, amplifying fungus’s awareness of us.


  • Mycelium Lights * 5~8
    • wrap mycelium(post-blender) around balloons, and poke the balloons once mycelium eats all the materials
  • Wood sticks * 4
  • Wires hiding in flax ropes
  • Wood base
    • soil in wood box
    • ultrasonic sensor attached
    • solenoid beneath(if time permits)


Also about the case study, one thing interests me that most of the projects from reading and from Oliver, all have certain degree of public influence, and create new behavior. I wonder how many artist originally had this kind of visions and how many artist eventually made it and change the real world? Or are they actually all make it through but just in different level? And how can we keep our vision and passion vivid and lively?

{FungU} Concept and prototype with 3D model







Mycelium covers all over the Earth and is aware of what’s going on up there. Its decomposing ability is the key of the nutrient cycling system, and can also degrade or remove toxins from the environment. Those newly learned information inspired me to be a missioner of fungus, broadcasting what fungus has done for the planet, so this is a project based on the perspective of fungus. Magnifying what fungus does by present it as a creature with thoughts.


When no one’s near, the projector projects(or screen behind plays) the collage of the mycelium activities(growing, moving, decomposing, degrading pollution etc.) video footages, representing what fungus is doing right now. When someone comes near(detected by ultrasonic sensor), the image changes into camera view, and viewer will be capped with oyster mushroom cap(using OpenCV), a light-hearted way to show how close we are to fungus, to intrigue to be aware of what fungus is doing, and hopefully to make us be the positive force for the Earth, like fungus, instead of being a negative influence.


  • Mushroom: Oyster Mushroom
    • commonly seen, edible, easily growing, can break down the pesticides, petroleum based contaminants and hydrocarbons based pollutants)
  • Cap: Cork shaped as net, wrapping logs to grow out mushroom
  • Body: Mycelium
  • Base: soil in wood box

(3D model made in Maya)

interview and sensors test {FungU}

Interview with Stephen from Ecovative and Customer Service Lady from Fungi Perfecti:

  • Free form mycelium fabrication could be doable, just remember to degerm.
  • Can’t be pressed in small mold because it will be hard to take out of the mold.
  • Can try to put growing log in the mold I make to grow, but cut it in half equals to cut the nutrients in half.

Discuss with Scott:

  • Questions for myself
    • organic or clean? based on what message I want to send, what emotion I want people to have be intrigued, be bound, to have raw motion from
    • —> messy, wild, crazy —> Organic!




  • kind of achieve to mimic the movement of the mushroom: when no one near, the mushroom keeps swinging, when ppl come near, the mushroom is aware and then stops.
  • problems: swing speed needs to slow down, could be more sensitive and accurate. ASK around. Yo.


  • order oyster mushroom kit
  • try using mycelium as dough(if it’s doable, project might change)
  • physical design
  • software design
  • LAB in shops
  • blue foam: big & small fungi
  • wood base box
  • put oyster mushroom in it and wait it to grow!!!

what can I do to help hooking up fungi and human?

From this week’s reading of Mycelium Running, I learned how powerful fungus and mycelium is. Sending nutrients back to soil, completing the cycling of nutrients, rebuilding forest, absorbing and decomposing toxins. It seems fungus is almost invincible. How can this information be well known by people, and implemented widely? What can I do to help strengthening the connection between human and fungus? Emotional or functional aspect? What’s the story I can tell? I have to admit, the more I thought, the more unsure I became.

I want fungus be loved.

For this, I’m thinking about changing my project a little bit. I want to intrigue and ripple people’s mind.


  • Instead of using mycelium, I’m going to grow oyster mushroom out of a fruit body model, with a camera attach on it(or hidden behind if it’s too difficult).
  • Connect the cap and body with motor to make organic move.
  • Once people come near(infrared sensor), mushroom stills. Little mushroom come out of holes from the base box.
  • The image projected on the wall changes from black to this.

“Everyone is mushroom.” Message sent.

This is also inspired from one line from the book Mycelium Running:
Nature loves communities. When one species is suddenly introduced, the population dynamics shift in response.

The questions I’d love to ask and discuss

  • Will this achieve the goal to intrigue and ripple people’s mind?
  • Will people be interested in fungus after this experience?
  • What’s the information people will have?
  • Can this project justify its existence? (<– this one trouble me the most…)

project_update {Mycofabrication}

Inspired by Eric Klarenbeek’s MyceliumChair(image pool), that

  1. 3D prints base with straw & water paste for growing mycelium,
  2. 3D prints shell with bioplastics for molding mycelium.,

I’d love to explore different possibilities of mycelium molding. Is it possible to make delicate stuff with mycelium, other than solid square building bricks? Can it be molded into small parts that are able to be assembled?



  • For plan A
    • if I chop mycelium into small pieces, is it still growable?
    • what’s the proportion between mycelium, straw powder, and water?
    • without tight pressing can it still be moldable?
  • For plan B
    • is it possible to connect pieces by joinery?
    • multiple molds –> time consuming?

As for the case study, me and Kate and Peigi decided to team up since we are all focus in the material/fabrication subject. Possible exports include Eric Klarenbeek and Ecovative. Still searching.

Braninless Intelligence

After reading 1/3 part of Mycelium Running, a fungi bible by Paul Stamets, I’m amazed by how efficiently and fast the mold responds toward its food. It must be one of the reasons that fungi are used to earth’s Clean-Up. In a maze of having oat in the exit, within only 8 hours, the brainless slime mold, Physarum polycephalum, first occupied the whole area and then found the shortest ways out, by natural appealing to food.

mold maze

I looked further into Physarum polycephalum, and found out a research, by Chris Reid of the University of Sydney, state that..

As polycephalum moves through a maze or crawls along the forest floor, it leaves behind a trail of translucent slime. …a foraging slime mold avoids sticky areas where it has already traveled. …is a kind of externalized spatial memory that reminds polycephalum to explore somewhere new.

Spatial memory function! This interests me a lot. There are already a lot of experiments about using slime mold to run the metropolitan traffic system, and found they amazingly similar. I want to do something like that, with same spirit. I want to fungus to guide my route!

My initial idea about fungus project is to make a helmet/hat out of mushrooms. Literally having mushrooms growing on my helmet/hat. Because what intrigues me the most about fungi at first, is its appearance and the emotion it makes me feel, I think it would be a good point to start with, its looks and psychological impact. But then I went just really confused… Is it even meaningful?

So, if I combine both appearance and behavior of fungi together as the theme for my project, will it be more meaningful and complete? Right now in my mind is…. I’ll wear that mushroom helmet/hat, and follow the route of slime mold.

Isn’t it super weird?

Thoughts about Fungus(update)


This semester I’m taking class of “Fungus Among Us”, and I’ve found some aspects of fungus I’m particular interested about, and would love to develop project based on them:

Gift to Gross Out People

Every time I google “fungus”, I can always have some valuable “wtf” moments, and I think it’s an amazing power deserved to be explored. Is it because fungus usually comes along with rotten, dead stuff and thus build up the association? Are we scared of its decomposing ability because it makes us relate to our future death? I’m interested in how we can do this kind of power of horror.

Super Adaptive Behavior

Fungus grows and prospers anywhere it lands. I’d love to grow them on different materials and different locations, and see how different the fungus will be. After that, I plan to gather those fungi together and see how their information/consciousness network work. Will they merge into each other and become a new kind of fungus?

Peculiar Round Shape

Fungus usually has circular shape because it grows by spreading out in all directions from a central point, where the original spore germinates. It’s an interesting feature I’d love to try with computer vision. The different looks of Pileus and there different functions can be inspirations for interactive devices too.


So, for the possible future project, I would either

  1. try to grow fungus into terrifying one, as horrible as it can be, and see how the power of horrors can be apply to(psychology aspect), or
  2. grow same fungus in different environments and see how people’s affect them, and after that see what they will communicate with each other by meshing up, and it might somehow representing the meshing up behaviors of people’s(communication/network aspect)? Or
  3. explore more about the structure and function of different shape of Pileus and see how it can be applied to enhance the communication/interaction among people as a wearable device(pcomp project).


responds to Form And FungusMagic of Mushrooms, Paul Stamets’s TED talk

website philross

sources are-fungi-earths-natural-internet, what role do fungi play in food chain,

ICM_Video_Let’s have Fun!

OpenCV Library



Just tweaking around Daniel Shiffman’s LiveFaceDetect example with OpenCV library. Photoshopped off the face of Mushroom. And I’m proud that I mapped the position and the scale well! So FIT hahaha. Below is my mushroom hat mapping code.

if (faces != null) {
    for (int i = 0; i < faces.length; i++) {
      // image size: 500
      // maps image size with face scale
      float w = map(img.width, 200, 1, 1, faces[i].width);
      float h = map(img.height, 200, 1, 1, faces[i].height);

      image(img, faces[i].x+faces[i].width/2-(w)/2, faces[i].y-(h)/2, w, h);

And here’s the video for it. Fun!