An Artificial Fruiting Body that Translates Urban Trees’ Stress Communication to Humans

Kim Kuhl

März / March - 2023

Universität der Künste Berlin

Master of Arts


Functional and technical requirements are structurally prioritised over the needs of trees during urban planning. While forest trees communicate through their roots and mycorrhizal fungi (also called the “Wood Wide Web”), and cooperate in a social structure in a highly intelligent way for communal survival, city trees often appear as lonely creatures, isolated from each other due to the urban landscape humans created. Because of this, the trees’ communication and calls for help during times of stress often go unheard. BLoOm is an artificial glowing, fruiting body that acts as a new agent in the urban ecosystem and bridges the gap between trees and humans by translating the trees’ stress communication for humans. In an IoT network, BLoOm communicates with a sensor on the roots of the tree that measures the suction force of the roots. The sensor’s information is then translated into a pulsing light: From slow pulsing when conditions are good to a frantic red pulsing in emergencies.