Disney Project, Botanicus Interacticus, Turns Plants Into Multi-touch Controllers

Botanicus Interacticus is a new technology, developed by Disney researchers, for creating expressive interactive plant controllers, both living and artificial. Touches can be translated into control signals for music or visuals.

Here’s what they have to say about the technology:

Botanicus Interacticus an interaction platform that takes interaction from computing devices and places it anywhere in the physical environment. In particular we are targeting living plants.

Botanicus Interacticus has a number of unique properties. This instrumentation of plants is simple, non-invasive, and does not damage the plants. It requires only a single wire placed anywhere in the soil. The interaction with plants goes beyond simple touch and allows rich gestural interaction. Examples include: sliding fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp location, tracking proximity, and estimating the amount of touch contact between user and a plant.

Botanicus Interacticus also deconstructs the electrical properties of plants and replicates them using electrical components. This allows the design of a broad variety of biologically inspired artificial plants that behave nearly the same as their biological counterparts. The same sensing technology is used with both living and artificial plants.

Plant-based controllers might not be practical for performing traditional music – but it’s easy to imagine them being used for experimental and ambient music projects.

Check out the video and let us know what you think!

via DisneyResearchHub

10 thoughts on “Disney Project, Botanicus Interacticus, Turns Plants Into Multi-touch Controllers

  1. This is nothing new, I saw this on an old television show called “beyond 2000” and that was in the late 90’s. An artist was using plants such as cactus and ferns to trigger sensors that were connected to roots. The sensors picked up the slight electrical variation through the plant and displayed random images on front projection screens and also triggered musical notes and sequences. Disney just dusted off the artistic application.

    Same thing as google’s glasses. Wearable computer researchers and hobbyists have been around with wearable monocular displays since the 90’s I know because I was one of them. 🙂

  2. “Disney just dusted off the artistic application”

    So you are saying Disney took an old idea and redesigned it and not it looks like Disney make the original! I didnt expect this from Disney.

  3. Ok, props for making this work, even though we’ve seen it before in various configurations. But I’m yet again drawn to, why? Other than a wow factor, this doesn’t offer any control over sound generators than we already have other than in such a way as to make it possible for anyone to poke at a plant for a while and get a result set that falls within pre-determined acceptable parameters. Anyone looking for precision will get bored or frustrated immediately, and anyone just playing around will quickly get bored with the lack of variety they can get out of touching the plant. Imagine the kid poking at some leaves and getting plinky plonk music like is in the video, then saying “I want dub step”, and proceeds to thrash the poor plant till it breaks, still getting only plinky plonk but with maybe a slightly more open filter.

    All that being said, I’m sure Bjork and Deadmouse will add this to their sets and everyone will think they are superhuman.

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