Use Your Houseplant to Control Your Computer

botanicus interacticus imageYouTube/Video screen capture

The folks at Disney Research have come up with an interesting idea -- turn that plant sitting there lazily on your office desk into a computing tool. Botanicus Interacticus is a way to make plants interactive, such that waving a hand over the leaves could produce music, or even touching the stem at various places could insert a new appointment into your desktop calendar. All that is required is placing an electrode into the soil of the pot, and that's it.

"Driven by the rapid fusion of computing and living spaces, we take interaction from computing devices and places it in the physical world using livings plants as an interactive medium."

We are all for filling your home and office with plants -- it's good for your lungs and your mind. But with this project, the plants do more than clean the air and relax you. They become interactive, or inspire electronic devices that mimic a plant's structure.

From Disney Research:

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.

So what do you think? Would you want your office plant to become part of your desktop computer set up?

Use Your Houseplant to Control Your Computer
Botanicus Interacticus is a project that would like to turn your fern into a computing tool, or even a electronic musical instrument.

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