November 24, 2007
Reading for November 27th, are now posted. Enjoy!

October 2, 2007
To upload your thoughtless acts, create a new assignment page like any other lab. You'll see "Thoughtless Acts" listed as one of the assignment options.

May 24, 2008
This site has been archived and is no longer editable. Stay tuned for the next version, coming in the fall!

Green Thumb

Project Members: 
Jonathan Breitbart
Kathleen Lu
Srikanth Narayan

Green Thumb


This system can be used to dynamically interact with a plant to monitor its health based on set parameters of sunlight and water levels (soil saturation). An animated display will be attached to the pot of the plant displaying current conditions. As a user interacts with the plant (by either watering the plant or moving it to a new location), the plant will sense changes in conditions and the display will dynamically update to reflect changes in the parameters, showing the user how he/she is affecting the plant's health. The plant will also be continuously reading sensor input throughout the day, whether or not the user is interacting with it. Snapshots of the plant condition throughout the day will be strored and viewed by the user to see how changing conditions during the day affect the plant's health. The user can then modify the position of the plant, for example, depending on the time of day, to maximize sun exposure.

Additionally, sensors will be placed around the edge (rim) of the pot and will activate when the pot has been knocked over. The display will update to show the knocked over plant and will start blinking to show that urgent attention is needed. A warning sound will also be played to alert the user that the plant has been knocked over. When the water level is dangerously low, the display will also start blinking to indicate urgent attention is needed.


Potted plant

UV photocell sensors will be placed in multiple locations around the plant to measure sunlight exposure. As the amount of UV light changes, the display will update to reflect such.

Force sensors will be placed inside the pot at the bottom (with a layer between the sensor and the soil). As water is added to the soil, the force sensors will measure the added weight and water levels on the display will update accordingly.

Force sensors will also be placed around the rim of the pot. If the pot is knocked over, the sensors will activate and the display will update to reflect such. A speaker attached to the pot will activate and play warning sounds.

Animated display that can be attached to the pot. The display is attached to the computer system that processes sensor input and updates based on that input.

Computer system. User will input the type of plant to be monitored. Optimal parameter levels could be read from a database or the user could have the option to enter parameter levels him/herself. The system will read sensor input from the plant and will update the pot display based on changing conditions.

Sample Sketches

These sample sketches showing different states of health and parameter level for the plant system. Images such as these will be shown on the pot display.  These are just sample states.  The actual animated display will represent gradations of each parameter and health of the plant.  The parameters will update individually of each other.

Green Thumb Sketches


Comments from TUI Teaching Team

We met and discussed your proposed ideas and new designs so comment below applies only to the sketch you submitted for the progress report. Good luck with the new idea! 


Hi Guys, it's clear that there has been some evolution in your design. A continuing concern we have is that there's not much of a tangible interaction aspect of your system. Though your system is now digital, all the actions are still quite necessary for maintaining the life of the plant and not necessarily designed by you. The system is no doubt useful, and probably enjoyable to use, but how can you make it tangible? It's a little bit unclear what your sketch is showing. Are we looking at something that's displayed or the actual plant itself? For the sketch's sake, it's usually good to make sure that your device is clearly situated in the context it's meant to be used in. Additionally, we have no sense of the interaction the user would have from the sketches. Keep up the good work, guys. It's hard stuff!

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