Thursday, June 21, 2007

Human-Plant-Human Interaction

Lately I've been thinking and talking about what we're doing with the TechGarden in terms of Human-Plant-Human Interaction. Google yields plenty of searchs on people-plant and human-plant interactions but, as Paul Dourish pointed out, Google yields nothing for human plant human interaction. Google says:"Your search - "human plant human interaction" - did not match any documents. " It would probably more accurate to call what we're doing a Human-Plant-Computer-Human Interaction. Well, that yields a terrifically unwieldy acroynym. Maybe it would be good to stick with HPH. Or how about Computer-Human Interaction throughPlants (CHIP)?

The Infotropism project, presented at DIS 2004, is an example of what I'm calling HPH/CHIP. the system uses the properties of phototropism to turn a plant into a living display. Phototropism is directional plant growth in which the direction of growth is determined by the direction of the light source. lights are wired to a recycling bin and a trash bin on either side of the plant. every time something is placed in a bin, the corresponding lamp emits a burst of light. thus, the plant acts as a display of human consumption patterns. [Thanks to ::setbang::].

It's very interesting to think of the plant itself as a display. We weren't necessarily focusing on the notions of plants-as-display, although perhaps we were implicitly: over time, the plants show patterns of human care. The plants in our highly artificial environment will only survive with human care and they will only thrive with persistent human care.

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