V. Gentile, S. Sorce, I. Elhart, F. Milazzo

Plantxel: Towards a Plant-based Controllable Display

Interazione Uomo-Macchina Ingegneria del Software

The use of plants as a mean for both visualization and interaction has been already explored in smart environments. In this work, we explore the possibility of constructing a controllable dynamic plant-based display using thigmonastic plants, i.e. plants that change the shape and position of their leaves as a response to external stimuli. As an initial step towards this vision, we first introduce our approach of building a plant-based pixel (plant-pixel, or plantxel), and the principles of composing a plantxel-based public display. We then present the results of a feasibility study conducted with Mimosa spegazzinii plants, showing that our approach can achieve an acceptable contrast ratio, which in turn depends on leaves density. Based on the results of the study, we present a working prototype of a plantxel that is composed of a plant, the air-based stimulation system, and the control logic. The prototype allowed us to assess the effectiveness of our design choices, and to outline some potential limitations. Finally, we discuss the possibilities of using such plant-based display for dynamic information visualization in public spaces and provide directions for future work.

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