The Pula is the unit of currency for the country of Botswana in central southern Africa. The word Pula translates to “water”, and water also appears in iconic fashion on the Botswana national flag. Apart from hosting one of the world's largest river deltas , the country is otherwise quite dry and desert-like. The Khalahari desert in fact takes up a large swathe of the country. In comes to no surprise then that the people of Botswana value water more than anything else, and to them water is just as important if not more important that money.
Pula Pods are a series of modular, solar powered electronic devices encased in boxes that serve to communicate water consumption in a playful and simple way. Each Pula Pod device is equipped with a solar panel, speaker, LED, side-emitting optic fibre, battery and low power microcomputer. The collective group is then connected wirelessly to a water meter somewhere in the vicinity. Every evening at dusk, the Pula Pods begin to emit the sounds of frogs calling through their speakers. The vibrancy and tempo of the calling is in direct proportion to the amount of water saved that day ( as measured by the water meter and with respect to a certain baseline). If too much water was used that day, the Pula Pods fall silent.
The concept behind the piece is to reward water savings with a sound and light performance inspired by nature, as well as remind people of the importance of frogs and wetlands (as well as their disappearance in urban areas). The Pula Pods are battery powered (rechargeable by the solar panels) and weather proof, and therefore could be installed in a range of public locations. The pods would be most effective if clustered together, so that the sound of the calling Pula Pods resembles the sound of an actual wetland at dusk.