Any houseplant — real or artificial — could control a computer or any digital device with this technology
A yucca plant might make your office desk look nice, but with a new technology developed at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, that little shrub could possibly control your computer. And the jade plant nearby? Put your hand close to it and your iPod could start playing your favorite tunes.
Any houseplant — real or artificial — could control a computer or any digital device with this technology, called Botanicus Interactus. Once a single wire is placed anywhere in the plant’s soil, the technology can detect if and where a plant is touched, or even if someone gets near the plant.
Turning a houseplant into a device for interacting with computers and digital media no longer seems all that strange, contends Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist at Disney Research, Pittsburgh.
“Computing is rapidly fusing with our dwelling places and, thanks to touchpads and Microsoft Kinect, interaction with computers is increasingly tactile and gestural,” he explained. “Still, this interaction is limited to computing devices. We wondered — what if a broad variety of everyday objects around us could interact with us?”