Im Anfang Mai 2015 lud mich Myriel Milicevic für eine Gastvorlesung und anschließendem Workshop für Ihren Kurs Interfacing with Nature an der Hochschule Potsdam ein. Mein Themengebiet für diesen Tag waren die Artistic Human Plant Interfaces/Elektrobotanik. In der 90-120min Einführung bekamen die Studenten aus den Bereichen Produkt Design, Interface Design und Kommunikationsdesign einen ersten Eindruck, welche Überschneidungen zwischen Menschen und Pflanzen, sowie zwischen Pflanzen und Technologie auftauchen.
Some findings of my master thesis about biosensing are published in the new book:
The Green Thread: Dialogues with the Vegetal World
Edited by Patrícia Vieira; Monica Gagliano and John Ryan
Together with Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, we wrote the chapter 13 The Art of Human to Plant Interaction. If you want to see videos of these featured Human Plant Interaction, please check: Biosensing for Human Computer Interactions
Please feel free to post your Feedback about our chapter!
Categories: english, Interaction, Plants, Technologie art, books, inspiration, Interaction, nature, physical computing, publications, research, studium
For almost more than a year I wanted to write a tutorial about how to create a speaker on a leaf. Unfortunately, I found no time to write one. I think it is now time to show you the video as an example and provide you the links for built your own leaf speaker
After the analysis of “Visualizing techniques with plants”, we will explore interactions for human computer interaction (HCI) through plants. The objectives of this research are revealing technical approaches and which kind of interaction can be performed.
Interactions between humans and computer is usually implemented by sensors. In 2009 Dan Saffer defined a sensor for human computer interaction like this:
A sensor is typically an electrical or electronic component whose job is to detect changes in the environment [Saffer2009, page 13].
We are surrounded by plants and plants are able to sense changes in our environment. The increasing problem with our environment forces us to reconsider our usage of technology. Hybrid solutions between natural resources and our current technology is able to decrease our current environmental issues [ICC2007, pages 15-21]. For this reason, it is obvious to explore the plant abilities of sensing for HCI. The sensor belongs to the basic components of any gestural system, which is used in HCI applications [Saffer2009, page 13]. In our context we replace the common electronic sensor with a plant. An additional electronic circuit translates these bio signals into electronic computer-readable signals. Accordingly to this approach, the gestural system is completed again. Read more...
Nowadays information becomes more pervasive and crucial in a knowledge-based society [ZhaoMoere2008]. Therefore it is important for a society to develop an easy access to communicate meaning and functionality of information [MoereOffenhuber2009]. The easiest information access exists in our natural everyday physical environment. Public screens attempt to address this task. Unfortunately, current public screens hold several disadvantages for our public environment. They need a dedicated flat surface, illuminating their surrounded environments, and address only the visual sense. Furthermore, people often associate public screens with advertisement and pay less attention to them [MoereOffenhuber2009]. Therefore, it is rational to investigate information displays beyond the traditional screen-based visualizations. Plants are one of these objects, which are omnipresent in our daily physical environment. For this reason, data sculptures with plants might be an alternative approach to solve the problems of public screens and reach wide audiences. The following artworks are interpreted as the next development steps of the contemporary plant-based artworks from chapter 2.3 “Ethnobotany”. In this stage electronic and digital technology is applied to plants.
Within the scope of my research I will present a qualitative evaluation of visualizing techniques with plants. The evaluation model is based on the comparison methods developed by Andrew Vande Moere, Dietmar Offenhuber [MoereOffenhuber2009], and as well as Matthew Brehmer, and Tamara Munzner (2013) [BrehmerMunzer]. The evaluation result reveals their visual encoding techniques, and which characteristic of data they visualize. Furthermore, the outcome assigns approaches of creating more intriguing, and easy memorable visualizations. Read more...
Humans use their knowledge about plants and their ecology for enhancing their life quality. Their accomplishments related to plant cultivation is associated to the botany discipline horticulture. That includes activities from the fields of science, technology, and business. Horticulture incorporates the tasks and services of food production, plant conservation, horticulture therapy, landscape restoration, landscape and garden design. All the human endeavours towards horticulture serve the goal of developing and maintaining human health and well-being.
Horticulture is strongly connected with gardening and should not be distinguished with agriculture. Agriculture is usually organized in large fields that grow only one plant species (mono culture). Furthermore, gardens are in most cases isolated from its environment. A common field is not protected by a fence or other construction. Moreover, agriculture makes heavy use of big machines for cultivating their plant growth and food production. The last and another important difference between horticulture and agriculture is the lack of an appealing design practice in agriculture [Nemitz2000, page 173]. Read more...
The term Ethnobotany consists of the two words “ethno” and “botany”. The word “ethno” is attributed to people, culture, aesthetic, language, knowledge, and practice. Botany describes the study of plants. The combination of these words, the scientific discipline Ethnobotany, investigates the relationships between humans and plants.
Since the beginning of humananity, the human-beings depended on botanical knowledge for surviving [Flagler1994, page 4]. Ethnobotany documents and characterizes this gathered knowledge of plants in various cultures. The research fields include documentations about food, medicine, construction, textiles, rituals, art and others. The comprehensive scope of research topics assigns Ethnobotany to a classical multi-disciplinary study. The interdisciplinary team of scientists must have knowledge in botany for identification of plant species, anthropologic knowledge for describing the cultural scope, and a linguistic training for transferring the local terms to the scientific community.
Over thousand and thousand years plants developed a complex sensory and regulatory system [Chamovitz2013, page 4]. Their inability of locomotion forced them to become masters in an adaptive development. Therefore, it is obvious to research plant functions in more detail. This chapter adopts the content structure from Daniel Chamovitz’s book “What a plant knows” [Chamovitz2013]. He compared the plant sensory system with the human system. In relation to Human Plant Interfaces this structure is very useful to present the most obvious differences between the human and the plant sensory system. The starting sections will explore the senses see, smell, touch and hear. Afterwards, the following sections will investigate the plant ability of orientation and memory. This summary mentions only the basics of plant physiology related to this thesis based artistic research. For more details about plant physiology, the book “Physiology and Behaviours of Plants” by Peter Scott (2008) is a very good recommendation and for a regular basis the Journal Plant Signaling & Behavior is highly recommended. Read more...
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.
The beginning of the introduction mentioned the current ecological problems caused by humans. Some of these issues can be blamed directly on the inappropriate use of technology. The research on Human Plant Interfaces proposes interaction design solutions, which are more eco and human friendly. The exploration of these advantages is separated in the four parts design, urban development, production lifecycle, and social design.