nitipak samsen / Designer

Natural Fuse (as lead designer on the project with Haque Design + Research)

Natural Fuse creates a city-wide network of electronically-assisted plants that act both as energy providers and as circuit breakers.

Every seemingly helpful device that a human being uses has its own carbon “footprint” which, in excess, can harm other living beings. “Natural fuse” is a micro scale CO2 monitoring & overload protection framework that works locally and globally, harnessing the carbon-sinking capabilities of plants.
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Natural fuses allow only a limited amount of energy to be expended in the system; that amount is balanced by the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by the plants that are growing in the system.

In the same way that circuit-breakers are useful for preventing excessive current use, so too can the Natural Fuse plants break the CO2 footprint “circuit”.

What would you do? Use less energy? Or supersize the fuse?

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The main intention of this project is to balance the carbon footprint and carbon sink of electricity usage and plants in the system. The electricity depends on the plants just as the plants depend on the electricity. And people depend on both.

Natural Fuse is composed of 3 components: fuse unit (the plant in the pot), appliances and Pachube (an existing public system we have developed to share real time sensor and actuator data between remote environments via the internet).

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The fuse unit comes with “fuse care” function, which helps take care of your plant via a remotely activated water-controlling-system. This function will work only if there is enough energy left to use.

But if too much energy has been used, “fuse kill” function will be activated.“Fuse kill” function literally kills the plant, breaks the circuit and allows no electricity flow through the outlet that this plant is connected to.

“fuse care” function activated (if there is enough energy left to use)

“fuse kill” function activated (if too much energy has been used)

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On the unit, there is power-activation switch, which the owners can adjust depending on how much they want to use the energy. There are 3 modes, OFF, SELFLESS and SELFISH.

In “OFF” mode, the system uses minimal energy, turns itself on once every hour. No energy flows to the appliance connected to the unit. As a result, the overall CO2 absorbed in the whole system gradually increases, and the plants in this unit are cared for by the system.

In “SELFLESS” mode, the unit gives power to appliance at a rate that ensures CO2 production and capturing in the entire Natural Fuse system remain in equilibrium. As a result, owner might be able to turn on the lamp for 10 mins a day, depending on status of the whole system and consumption rate of the appliance.

In “SELFISH” mode, the unit gives as much power to appliance as it needs. As a result, the owner can use the appliance as normal but it might cause the whole CO2 absorbed in the system to decrease or even lead to total systematic breakdown.

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CAUTION: IF SYSTEMATIC BREAKDOWN OCCURS, THE SYSTEM MAY KILL 1 RANDOM UNIT’S PLANTS, AND IT PROBABLY WON’T BE YOUR OWN!

for more information, please visit Natural Fuse community site.