Botanicus Interacticus: Interactive Plant Technology

Project Members

Ivan Poupyrev (Disney Research Pittsburgh)

Botanicus Interacticus is a technology for designing highly expressive interactive plants, both living and artificial. 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.

Botanicus Interacticus has a number of unique properties. 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.

Team and Credits

The Botanicus Interacticus has been developed at Disney Research by Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. The project is based on Touché sensing technology previously invented and developed at Disney Research, Pittsburgh.

Christian Riekoff, Eric Brockmeyerand TheGreenEyl joined Botanicus Interacticus research team on designing and producing the SIGGRAPH 2012 Botanicus Interacticus exhibition.



SIGGRAPH 2012 Exhibition of Botanicus Interacticus

Botanicus Interacticus explores new modes of interaction between humans and living plants by instrumenting them with rich touch and gesture sensitivity.

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.

The sensing approach implemented in Botanicus Interacticus treats plants as an electrical circuit that can be modeled and replicated with standard electrical components.

The technology allows to for engaging touch and gesture interaction on a plant, a “Pepper’s ghost” illusion is used to create generate rich visual display registered to a plant.

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.

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.

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