We are used to controlling a computer with a mouse. But why use a mouse and not some other organism? Researchers at the company that gave us Mickey must have been wondering about this too and decided to change the worn-out mouse paradigm. Now, after a few years of research, they proudly present the, no, not the duck, but the plant. Indeed, from now on you can control your computer by touching a plant. Touching the plant in different ways and places can cause the computer to do different things.
While using a mouse or touchscreen still might be more intuitive, Disney Research’s experimental Botanicus Interactus system does hint at what could be possible down the road. The system uses a single electrode placed in the soil of a real or artificial potted plant. Using Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing (SFCS) technology, it is then able to determine not only if the plant is being touched, but also to estimate where on its “body” that touch is taking place. It can additionally detect the nature of the touch (a stroke, a tap, etc.) or even if a person merely has their finger close to the plant.
BTW, SFCS technology can also transform a duck into a “human” interface device.