Botanicus Interacticus: Interactive Living Plants

  • What is Botanicus Interacticus?
    We envision a future where interactive devices are not manufactured but are living, growing organisms. Botanicus Interacticus is an exploration into the design of highly expressive interactive plants, both living and artificial. It has a number of unique properties. The instrumentation of living plants is simple, non-invasive, and does not damage the plants. Using our Touché technology, only a single wire has to be placed anywhere in the plant's soil.
    Botanicus Interacticus allows for rich and expressive interaction with plants. Depending on the physiology of each plant species, Botanicus Interacticus can allow a broad variety of gestures such as sliding fingers on the plant stem, detecting touch and grasp location, tracking proximity between the user and plant, and estimating the amount of touch contact.
    With Botanicus Interacticus technology any living plant can be turned into a musical instrument, a game controller, a light switch, an elevator button, or a motion detector. Interactivity and responsiveness can be added to homes, streets, and even entire cities, unobtrusively and sustainably simply by growing plants.
  • Basic explanation of Botanicus Interacticus technology.
  • The Botanicus Interacticus interactive installation.
  • Botanicus Interacticus in Pictures
  • Botatnicus Interacticus is a new technology that allows creating highly interactive living plants. The physiological structure of plants suggest possible interactions, for example in case of orchid we can track and visualize the position of fingers on its' long stem.
  • A smaller bushy plant allows to track the mount of contact between the human hand and a plant, suggesting particle visualization of the plant interaction.
  • The sensing approach implemented in Botanicus Interacticus treats plants as an electrical circuit that can be modeled and replicated with standard electrical components.
  • Such biologically inspired artificial plants behave nearly exactly same as their biological counterparts. From the point of view of our sensor there is no difference between real and artificial.
  • Botanicus Interacticus allows to explore new modes of interaction between humans and living plants by instrumenting them with rich touch and gesture sensitivity as well as visuals augmenting the plant and responding to touch interactions.
  • A interactive Botanicus Interacticus installation combines the display and interacting living plant.
  • Theuser interact with the plant while observing the plant and themselves on the half-way mirror installed between the plant and display hidden behind.
  • The resulted image of the plant is augmented with dynamic and responsive visuals that give each plant it's own "character".
  • The visuals are tightly integrated with the structure of the plant inviting certain interaction and providing responces.
  • In case of bamboo the image reacts to the locaiton on the bamboo triggering sounds as they fly along the stem.
  • The artificial cactus provides uniqie experiences that are not possible with real living plants, where the visuals are palced inside of the plant.
  • All interactivity is driven by the Touche sensor that is connected to the plant with a single wire.
  • The view of the exhibition.
  • Visitors at SIGGRAPH 2012 interacting with orchide.
  • Visitors at SIGGRAPH 2012 interacting with orchide.
  • Visitors at SIGGRAPH 2012 interacting with orchide.
  • Calibrating the bamboo.
  • Publications, Awards
    Poupyrev, I., Schoessler, O., Loh, J. and Sato, M. Botanicus Interacticus: Interactive Plant Technology. ACM SIGGRAPH 2012 Emerging Technologies, Article 4 [PDF].
    1st Prize of Nokia Ubimedia MindTrek Award (NUMA) 2012.
    Team and Credits
    The Botanicus Interacticus was developed at Disney Research by myself in collaboration with Philipp SchoesslerJonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. The project is based on Touché sensing technology invented earlier at Disney Research, Pittsburgh.
    Christian Riekoff, Eric Brockmeyer and TheGreenEyl joined Botanicus Interacticus research team on designing and producing the SIGGRAPH 2012 Botanicus Interacticus exhibition.