Human Plant Interfaces

December 22nd, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Plant Colour Patterns



We are living in an age with many social challenges and environmental changes. Physical limited resources and environmental effects caused by human actions are two indicators of our disturbed relationship with nature. These developments and the human fear of the consequences raised the people’s dream of green products. These new generations of products are supposed to be sustainable and eco-friendly to its environment as well as to its society.

This master thesis seizes on the green movement and investigates the developments in Human Plant Interfaces from an artistic and scientific point of view. The research reveals methods of visualizing data with plants, sensing human interactions and various approaches that enrich social life in urban environments through plants. The results and projects are described in their function, technical implementation and their impact on the society. All introduced projects propose solutions for merging technology with nature. In that relation, they also provide approaches for strengthening our relationship with plants and nature. Some of the interfaces hold educational attributes in human plant relationships and some others projects intend a more eco-friendly and independent life style.

Beyond that, this master thesis explores the interactions between the disciplines art, technology, botany, social science, urban development from a plant perspective. It summarizes emerging movements and research efforts  for declaring new fields in an on-going research in Human Plant Interfaces.

Download master thesis in PDF


Table of contents


1. Introduction

1.1. Definition of Human Plant Interfaces

1.2. Benefits of Human Plant Interfaces

1.3. Research objectives and methodology

Theoretical part

2. Botany for Interface Design

2.1. Plant Physiology

2.2. Plant Ecology

2.3. Ethnobotany

2.4. Horticulture

3. Plants, Interfaces, and Art

3.1. Visualizing techniques with plants

3.2. Biosensing for Human Computer Interactions

3.3. Locomotion applied to plants for Public Spaces

3.4. Digital Network and Community Design with plants

3.5. Experimental expressions in relations to plants

4. Practical component

4.1. Methodology

4.2. Perception of Nature: “Season Patterns”

4.3. Public Intervention with plants: “Travelling Plants”

4.4. Plants in urban environments: “Dead Tree Drops”

4.5. Plants as a barometer: “Charisma Garden”

5. Conclusion and Findings

5.0. Evaluation of the research






Download the presentation slides in PDF



Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag
Artistic Human Plant Interfaces von Florian Weil ist lizenziert unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 4.0 International Lizenz.
Über diese Lizenz hinausgehende Erlaubnisse können Sie unter ./human-plant-interfaces/ erhalten.



  1. March 23rd, 2015 at 21:43 | #1

    The cultural laboratory FoAM investigates also heavily the topic Human Plant Interfaces in their project groWorld. Their wiki contains many other useful resources and links!

  2. May 20th, 2015 at 10:00 | #2

    The Dutch media artist Sander Veenhof explored in his dissertation EXIT HUMAN. ENTER THE PLANT – An evolutionary study on interactive media use (2009) at the Dogtime Instable Media department of the Rietveld Art Academy the relationships of Human Plant Interfaces. Especially, the interactions between plants and (networked) computer are described in more detail.

  3. July 13th, 2015 at 16:31 | #3

    Andrew Quitmeyer investigated during his PHD at the Georgia Tech the topic Digital Naturalism. The result is a pragmatic framework for designing digital media to support the intrinsic values of scientists studying animal behavior in the wild. I am pretty sure that some findings and methods could be applied to the plant’s world as well.

    See also:
    Digital Naturalism – Theory and Guidelines (PDF)

  4. May 9th, 2016 at 15:29 | #4

    Mindaugas Gapševičius and Prof. Ursula Damm give a lecture about GMU:Bioelectronics, aesthetics and other interesting things (2016) at the Media Art & Design Department of Weimar Bauhaus University. One slot deals even with Plant Sensing.

  5. November 2nd, 2016 at 22:39 | #5

    The designer Katja Budinger explored and shared her research about interactive plants on her blog. She gathered some nice projects around plant roboters, sensing with plants and some more topics.

  6. June 22nd, 2017 at 10:50 | #6

    Under the hashtag #FieldBioArt by The Bio Media Lab you can find some really interesting Workshops and projects

  7. June 5th, 2018 at 11:17 | #7

    On May, 24th in 2018, Prof. Alexander Müller-Rakow organized a very interesting symposium about Human Plant Interaction at the University HTW in Berlin.

    Speaker list:

    Netzwerke der Natur [Entdecken – Erleben – Verstehen]
    Dr. Dieter Volkmann, Biologe und apl. Professor i.R. der Universität Bonn

    Technology assisted human plant interaction –
    Raune Frankjaer, Designforscherin, Department Digital Design & Information Studies Aarhus University |

    Blockchain forests: Natural resources taking back control –
    Paul Seidler, Künstler und Interaction Designer |

  8. June 18th, 2018 at 15:14 | #8

    Very interesting department and research field Computational Plant Science: Science at the Interface of Math, Computer Science, and Plant Biology

  9. July 3rd, 2018 at 10:10 | #9

    Wonderful talk by Simon Collision about the intersection of communication technology and natural design.

    The Internet of Natural Things on Beyond Tellerrand 2018 in Munich

    Simon will discuss the ways digital technology can strengthen our connection to the world around us, and actually benefit our well-being. He’ll lift the lid on his research so far, share some experiential optimism, and outline ideas for ensuring the products we create have a positive influence on our lives.


    Talk & speaker bio: – Speaker Website – Articles about Internet of Nature

    Information about beyond tellerrand:

  10. November 4th, 2018 at 22:38 | #10

    THE DIGITAL NATURALISM CONFERENCE (2018) – Field Biology | Interaction Design | Wild Hacking

  11. February 27th, 2019 at 14:53 | #11

    Hannah Perner-Wilson aka Plusea will hold a very interesting workshop on the intersections of electronics and (bio-based /plant based) material

    Blurring Boundaries: Electronics as Material Practice (2019) by Hannah Perner-Wilson

  1. June 2nd, 2014 at 17:44 | #1
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  5. June 15th, 2014 at 22:26 | #5
  6. June 15th, 2014 at 22:33 | #6
  7. August 9th, 2014 at 11:22 | #7
  8. October 25th, 2014 at 14:18 | #8