Tue 15th Jan
Digital Making at Tanjong Pagar Spottiswoode Park RC Tree Planting Day
15 January 2019
Tanjong Pagar residents celebrated the annual Tree Planting Day on Sunday, 4 November 2018 with Grassroots Adviser Ms Indranee Thurai Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance, and Adviser to Tanjong Pagar GRC Grassroots Organisations. Ms Indranee Thurai Rajah led the transplantation of a coconut tree once planted by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1990. Its new home is now at the open space behind Block 108 Spottiswoode Park Multi-Storey Carpark.
Ms Indranee Rajah watering the coconut tree after transplantation
IMDA’s Digital Maker Programme (DMP) played a part in this year’s event, organising workshops for residents to learn about incorporating technology, particularly digital making, into traditional gardening. The workshops enabled residents to learn basic coding and digital making skills, using a pocket-sized codeable computer called the micro:bit.
One of the main highlights of this event was the showcase of a vertical garden prototype that is powered by micro:bit. Members of Garden Gaia gardening interest group created this tech-enabled vertical garden by applying the knowledge they have acquired from the Digital Maker workshops conducted prior to this event. Participants of the workshops learnt coding and digital making skills that enabled them to create the moisture monitoring and self-watering system for the vertical garden. Whenever the soil is too dry, the moisture sensor placed in the soil sends a signal to activate the watering system. The micro:bit’s LED display was also programmed to indicate a ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ face depending on the moisture level of the soil.
“In this project, residents have infused technology into daily living, using digital making and coding techniques to monitor the health of their vertical garden. IMDA is encouraged by the enthusiasm of the residents to learn new digital skills, and hopes others in the community will be inspired to similarly explore the benefits of technology and digital skills,” said Ms Koh Li-Na, Assistant Chief Executive, Planning Group and Digital Readiness Cluster, IMDA.
“The micro:bit is a relatively simple device to program. You do not need to be tech-savvy to learn how to do it,” said Ms Anette De Souza, who attended the workshops and helped create the tech-enabled vertical garden. She added that the future of gardening is to integrate it with technology.
The LED display component of the vertical garden set up flashes a ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ face depending on the moisture level in the soil.
A watering system is set to up automatically water the plants when the low moisture levels are detected.
Participants of the Tree Planting Day had a fun-filled day, treated to various games, performances and activities, including digital making workshops. Ms Indranee visited various booths and tried out several games that utilized the micro:bit; such as the laser pointing and mini basketball game. She also visited the digital making workshop where volunteers and trainers assisted the participants to learn how to code the micro:bit to create a soil moisture sensor. This moisture sensor uses capacitance to determine the water content of soil and the moisture reading will trigger a ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ face on the micro:bit display.
Ms Indranee Rajah engaging participants during a digital making workshop.
With 2018 being the Year of Climate Action, the Tree Planting Day showcased how technology can play a part. In her speech about climate change, Ms Indranee said that the green initiative by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was ahead of its time and the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Grassroots Organisations will honour this tree planting tradition to keep the legacy alive. “Tree Planting Day is a significant and enduring tradition started by our founding fathers, for Singaporeans to stay rooted in the notion of greening our homeland. At the same time, we will want to incorporate the use of technology into gardening to showcase to residents that greening is sustainable in the long run,” said Ms Indranee. She further stressed that the Tree Planting Day is more than just a community event; it is part of a much bigger cause in making Singapore and the planet greener.
The Digital Maker programme aims to encourage kids and adults to create with technology to solve real-life problems and the Garden Gaia gardening interest group and Tanjong Pagar residents have demonstrated it.