*notcot in tech , 00:15

Botanicus Interacticus by Disney Research- 08.08.12

botanicus0.jpg Just back, and the project definitely worth seeing in person at Siggraph 2012 comes from Disney Research - Botanicus Interacticus turns plants into human-computer interfaces… caress, grab, approach the plant to change the visualizations! Plants as interfaces seems to be a growing trend. This reminded me of Mathieu Lehanneur’s 2010 Once Upon A Dream bed that we saw in Milan, where you barely touch the plant hanging overhead to activate the light dimmer. Also, NOTCOT.org just highlighted Viktor Kölbig’s Aura, which turns a plant in a glass of water into a light, and you touch the plant to change colors. However, Botanicus Interacticus, using Disney Research’s Touché technology takes those concepts even further, being able to sense various gestures, such as sliding of fingers on the stem, touching, grabbing, and even proximity to the plant as well as the amount of touch and more! In fact, they created an amazing tactile feedback (accidentally!) with the orchid example, where when you touched it - you’d feel tingling vibrations! (Which they said was from speakers beneath.)

Botanicus Interacticus comes from Disney Research’s Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. Can you imagine the interactive possibilities? The spaces you could create? Be it an interactive theme park space you explore… or dimming the mood lighting in your living room… controlling your music… sounding an alarm? Things you could hide in your garden? A replacement for botanical garden information cards next to plants? The options are endless, and a great example of ubiquitous computing becoming reality! However, i can’t help but wonder, how this will evolve to accommodate how careful you need to be when watering the plants, or they start to grow?

Take a look on the next page to see their display at Siggraph, the 4 examples they set up, video, and more information on Botanicus Interacticus!

As they explain - “This instrumentation of living plants is simple, non-invasive, and does not damage the plants: it requires only a single wire placed anywhere in the plant soil. Botanicus Interacticus allows for rich and expressive interaction with plants. It allows to use such gestures as sliding fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp location, tracking proximity between human and a plant, and estimating the amount of touch contact, among others.

In Botanicus Interacticus we also deconstruct the electrical properties of plants and replicate them using standard electrical components. This allows the design of a broad variety of biologically inspired artificial plants that behave nearly the same as their biological counterparts. From the point of view of our technology there is no difference between real and artificial.

Botanicus Interacticus technology can be used to design highly interactive responsive environments based on plants, developing new forms of organic, living interaction devices as well as creating organic ambient and pervasive interfaces.”


Now heading into their Siggraph booth! botanicus1.jpg

Each of the 4 examples showcases a plant in front of a half-way mirror (think half reflection, half see through) - which looks like beautiful cgi visualizations overlaying the plant reflection. botanicus2.jpg

See? botanicus3.jpg

It was interesting to hear that currently the system isn’t plug-and-play. You have calibrate EACH plant as a sensor, measuring the minimum and maximum potential feedback, allowing the system to determine where you are touching. (This also makes things interesting if your plant starts to grow… or you need to water it.) botanicus4.jpg

Here’s an example of their artificial plant made of titanium rods and capacitive sensors. botanicus5.jpg

Clearly, not nearly as fun to touch… botanicus6.jpg


Back to the orchid! Definitely the prettiest ~ and it had that fun accidental tactile feedback… only bummer, the flower petals, unfortunately, were not capacitive. botanicus8.jpg

Nice display of the sensors set into the wood base… and you can see how it connects with the plant. botanicus9.jpg

Stunning!!! botanicus10.jpg

The organic appeal and attention to display design of the Botanicus Interacticus booth definitely made it the standout amongst the Emerging Technologies sector of Siggraph this year! botanicus11.jpg

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2 Notes

Hey Notcot.org,

I have written my master thesis about Human Plant Interfaces in the domain of Interactive Art. I also think that direct interactions with plants can enhance ubiquitous computing applications a lot. Here is a summary of some other projects that implement direct interactions with plants.


All the best,

----- Florian 11.07.14 05:01

Where can I buy one of this? Is it on sale?

----- Alejandro Rosenfeld 09.08.12 11:13

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