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The Interactive Garden

It was only a matter of time before someone turned household plants into a multi-touch interactive device, because now we have the Botanicus Interacticus.

Based on the sophisticated Touché sensing technology Botanicus Interacticus creates a magical experience through the non-invasive instrumentation of living plants. Aurora like particles are emitted around different plants, triggered and transformed by gestures and proximity between the human and the living organism. A range of plants such as a bamboo, an orchid, a snake plant and a custom build artificial one were explored, where each plant presented its unique interactive, visual and auditive character.

I'm utterly amazed at the possibility that soon I could be tweeting with orchids, even write blog posts such as this with maybe spider plants, their shaggy bodies and multi-plantlets collectively emitting a massive aurora with which you could manipulate with endless gestural patterns. Depending on how many social web accounts you tend to, your indoor garden might approximate a jungle.

But why simply turn them into mere keyboards and remote controls? Why not also turn them into “display” devices, thus opening up even more radical means of interaction and visualization, with spatial effects?

Each morning, you take a stroll in your back garden or hike up the fire escape to your roof garden past your neighbor's vertical garden or just get up of bed in your oxygen garden pod hurtling windowless through deep urban space (for this parallel world Botanicus Interacticus has turned every city into a jungle) to watch the foliage physically deforming and chemiluminescing the day's cluttered signals. You no longer pore over streams of text and images. Instead, you read landscapes.

It should be no surprise that due to their graphic qualities, parterres become fashionable again as landscape ornaments.

As always, you head over to the fruiting hedges, and see that a clump of berries has formed during the night. You've got mail. The tumorous looking ones have attachments, while the rotten ones have been flagged as spam. To open and read, simply pick them off. Pocket those you want saved; squish to delete.

The technology for interaction through taste hasn't yet been perfected, or perhaps such behavioral literacy still isn't widespread. As for smelling, that technology has matured. So, you stop by the rose bushes and smell the weather forecast. When a hurricane is on the way, the air has a certain pungency to it.

Before heading back in, you snatch one or two apples from your Netflix/YouTube/Bittorent orchard. (The fruit as data storage and cloud.) Slice or bite to begin play.

In the garden, then, is the future of ubiquitous computing, where the computer will be made invisible, made to disappear into the garden itself.


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