Bringing immersive technology to the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.
How can ubiquitous computing engage and connect people to nature? We set out to answer this question by partnering with the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden to develop a concept for an interactive, ubiquitous art piece. The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden proved to be the perfect place in which to imagine future nature-based technology, as the site is still being developed as a public space. This provides the opportunity to create immersive, innovative experiences not yet seen in botanic gardens.
Through a user- and garden-centered research process, we developed a concept for an interactive art display. Called the CommuniTree, it is a tree-shaped sculpture with leaves made of polycarbonate tiles. These leaves can change based on community behavior or artists' concepts. We developed scenarios around educating visitors on the areas of the world whose plants are featured in the garden, allowing visitors to share their experiences at the garden, and immersing visitors in stories inspired by the almost magical environment. We picked these themes because they are in line with the garden's mission statement.
We presented our live-action concept video to a member of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden as part of our final project. Her reaction proved promising for future development. To see the video, go to http://vimeo.com/64844580.