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Research objectives and methodology

The goal of this research is to present the advantages and disadvantages of Human Plant Interfaces. Moreover, this thesis explores the interdisciplinary commonalities of botany, art and interface design. The qualitative analysis approach in this thesis reveals elementary functions and technical implementations of Human Plant Interfaces. The results are categorized by these functions and applications in five different chapters. The first chapter describes visualizing techniques with plants, which can be associated with an actuator or feedback channel in an interactive system. The chapter about biosensing presents different implementation techniques for utilizing plants as a sensor (input channel) for interactive applications. The functionality of these bio sensors are compared to the common electronic sensor measurements of pressure, light, proximity, acoustic, tilt, motion, and orientation. The following chapters 3.3 and chapter 3.4 investigate Human Plant Interface applications in the domain of environmental and social design. All sections in chapter 3 explore the integration of technology in nature driven environments.

After the qualitative analysis, the results are applied to the conceptual part of the thesis’s practical work. The outcome is a newly developed defensive design approach, which uses technology in a minimalistic style. In this context four art projects were developed to investigate the strength and weaknesses of this defensive approach. The artwork “Season Patterns” deals with the visual changes of plant based environments in urban landscapes during the seasons. The installation “Travelling Plant” encourages interactions between passengers in a public transport setting by a Human Plant Interface. An integration of digital media within a natural environment through a plant is provided by a Human Plant Interface called “Dead Tree Drop”. The last practical work of this thesis “Charisma Garden” injects digital data directly to the growth process of a plant. The changing visual appearance of the plant is supposed to influence Facebook communication behaviour of an individual.

The end of this thesis summarizes all research results and provides additionally prospects of Human Plant Interfaces.


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