CMOS Oscillator Circuit Gets An Eatable Input

In interaction designer [Leonardo Amico]’s work Processing Decay, lettuce is used as an input to produce sound as an element within a CMOS circuit. 

We’ve all seen lemons and potatoes doubling in science-fairs as edible batteries, but lettuce is something else.  [Leandro]’s circuit uses alligator clips to insert lettuce into oscillators in this audio generating circuit — we think they’re behaving like resistors. Without refrigeration, the resistance of the lettuce changes, and so does the oscillation in the circuit. In a matter of hours, days, and weeks the cells degrades slowly, modulating the system and its sonic output. What a way to make music!

This hack isn’t the freshest — the video dates from nine years ago — but this is the first lettuce circuit we’ve seen. Of course, we love other food hacks like these multi-wavelength lasers used to cook 3D-printed chicken, or maybe the circuit can make use of this neural net detecting fruit ripeness. 

9 thoughts on “CMOS Oscillator Circuit Gets An Eatable Input

    1. “Edible and eatable both refer to something that is ‘able to be eaten,’ but edible is usually used to describe something that is safe to eat, without regard to taste, while eatable often describes something that has some level of acceptable flavor.”

      So yes, “edible” would be better in this case.

      1. It takes less than a day at room temperature to turn lettuce leaves into a microbiological zoo, so neither “edible” nor “eatable” would be appropriate in that case. Let’s call it “vegan”.

  1. Funny that this came up! That was one of the very first project I did.

    Yes, the leaves act as resistors. And it took a lot to wire that salad up :) I agree the sound capture was not good. Yes, the last part sounds like frogs, but it had very potent, low end tones. You had to be there to hear that…

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