A system that transforms house plants to semi-independent interface for the aesthetics of data-driven home and makes hanging carpets great again

Problem

Not only water, gas and electricity flow through smart homes, but also data. Based on commonly distort vision of the least matter, googling "smart home" images promises a dreary future: sterile cyan led-lighten space tiled with invisible touch panels. For many this detached, cold imagery is a reason for fear of technology and rejection of progress.

Though to think of data as of a resource of such sterility would be a mistake. Data is a lively, promiscuous, dynamic resource, full of random and meaningful artifacts and aesthetics of the future should attempt to explore these attributes.

How might driven by real data and human interaction interior elements look like if they get to connect to the smartness of the future home? What and how can they communicate externally and internally?

Approach

We connected two iconic decoration items together: a plant and a carpet. Combined they provide us with cosines and a perfect eco-system for a data visualization:

1. interaction (a need for care),
2. input (i.g. water),
3. sensible feedback (state of a given plant) and
4. a pattern structure (carpet).



Prototype

House plant's state parameters – temperature, humidity, water and light – can be spitted into parameters of context and interaction. Same parameters can be used as a matrix for a generative field of the carpet.

Some combinations of values of
the parameters also describe geographical regions of very distinct and recognizable patterns. Based on correlations between graphics of these iconic patterns and climate parameters, we build a model to create our own graphic patterns for the smart carpet.

Rather then abstract symbols or graphs, visualization of data can be based on correlation. I.e. user knows, that their succulents are dying for some warmth and light if the carpet depicting a Norwegian Selburose, a peace lily is thirsty if it is the reason for Ghanian Kente pattern and an avocado requires a special attention if it communicates Japanese Seigaiha.

Such data visualization approach turns aesthetics into a sphere of exploration of nature, culture and craft. It informs, warns and engages to act without depicting negative states, allowing data-driven home to be pragmatic and empathetic at the same time.

Based on research with Anna König and Aneliya Kyurkchiyska

Technology: Processing, Arduino