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Botany for Interface Design

Plant Colour Patterns

The artistic research on Human Plant Interface involves a basic understanding of the living organism plants. Botany is the scientific discipline that studies and classifies plants and describes the mechanisms of plants as well as the cultural topics of plants related to humans and nature. Botany is a broad field and not every topic is relevant for Human Plant Interfaces.

This thesis focuses therefore only on a special kind of plant within the kingdom of green plants (Viridiplantae in Latin). This includes multicellular groups as flowering plants, conifers, ferns and mosses, which exist almost all over our environment. Generally spoken, plants have the basic body parts: roots, stems and leaves. Plants of the category green algae and fungi are neglected because of there complicated metabolism. This would go beyond the scope of this thesis.

From the viewpoint of botany the field is still big and for that reason, the following research on plants is focused on the most relevant topics: Plant physiology, plant ecology, ethnobotany and horticulture.

The chapter called physiology describes how a plant senses its environment. The structure of the chapter is based on the human senses, which reveals the similarities and differences between the human and plant perception. The basics of the plant sensor system are important for the following research in visualizing techniques and biosensing applications with plants.

The chapter on plant ecology introduces the interaction between a plant and its environment. Especially the interaction between various species is one important topic. The results are important for the following research on biosensing with plants and the application of locomotion towards plants.

Plants are a crucial element in human culture. The chapter about ethnobotany explores these aspects with a focus on contemporary art projects built with plants. The presented artistic activities hold a strong value for the whole research on Human Plant Interfaces.

The chapter horticulture will provide an introduction into gardening techniques as well as the social aspects of gardening. Both topics have a strong relationship with social design and art. For this reason, this chapter holds some background knowledge for the chapter “3.4. Digital Network and Community Design with plants” on page 85. Moreover, it refers to other artistic approaches like activism and visualizing techniques with plants.