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A Plant’s Life: Disney Gives Plants a Voice (and Touch-Sensitivity)

Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing.  It sounds like a complicated scientific process (which it is), but the result – a touch-sensitive peace lily – has us somewhere between being impressed and wondering how exactly they came up with the concept.

The “they” in this case is Disney’s Research Department.  So it’s probably no surprise that Botanicus Interactus, as the wired-up plant project is called, is envisioned for rather whimsical uses.  Leafy plants could become musical instruments, each leaf a different note; segmented plants could be used for other step-based applications.

Turning a houseplant into a touch-sensitive peripheral for your computer requires a strategically placed wire in the plant’s soil.  The wire detects not only when but where the plant has been touched – or if someone simply gets too close.  According to Disney’s Research Scientists, Botanicus Interactus is just part of a trend that brings touch interactions to non-computer devices.

Suddenly the singing garden from Alice in Wonderland doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous.

(Via Wired; Image via Disney Research)

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