leyli guliyeva — communication + experience design


Improving the Community Garden experience

GardenPot is a ubicomp system that is able to relay important information to gardeners when they are not present in the garden by bringing information about the community garden into the home. The system consists of two main parts. In the garden, moisture, temperature, and pressure sensors record both human and plant activity. This is relayed to each gardener’s own in-home GardenPot which displays this information in a natural form without resorting to screens and obvious technology.

ForBasic Interaction Design RoleUser research, concept development, visual design
DateDecember 2014 TeamAlex Sciuto, Kelin Zhao
GardenPot helps improve the community garden experience through the use of ubiquitous computing technologies. It uses sensors and monitors to continuously deliver data and information to users in unexpected ways.
Community gardens have numerous benefits expanding from fostering a sense of community within a neighborhood to increasing a sense of wellness and belonging. With the help of ubiquitous computing, how can we enhance this experience? After speed-dating with avid gardeners, our best chance of creating a useful innovation was in the following area: connecting gardeners to their fellow gardeners, connecting gardeners with the wider neighborhood and enabling gardeners to more easily share food with one another. Gardeners did not want any obvious technology hindering their experience with nature. Introducing the GardenPot In the garden, the GardenPot system measures moisture and temperature levels to determine the health of plants, along with pressure sensors that record both human and plant activity. This information is then relayed to each gardener’s own in-home pot, which displays this data in a natural form without the use of obvious technology and digital screens.
Inspired by the simple terra cotta pot, the GardenPot ‘display’ takes the form of a potted plant that conveys information through physical changes to its shape. The GardenPot tells users when their plants are in need of water by a simple wilting motion in the stakes.
Once watered in the garden, the stakes straighten out indicating a healthy water level, mimicking the action of real plants. The stakes gently shake when each plant is ready to be picked, adding a playful element to the system. If the user wants to give away certain plants to other gardeners, they can simply remove the label from the stake, sending a message to other gardeners. The pot also gently glows, and grows stronger as more people are present in the garden, encouraging gardener to gardener interaction.