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Teaching Plants (2017)

Invisible sensing system to turn living plants into interactive learning objects for nature education at Hortus Botanicus Leiden.

The setup consists of a system of sensors and machine learning algorithms that allows people to interact directly with living plants to receive information about the parts of the plant that they are interacting with. By touching, smelling and looking at the plant, people engage in a playful interactive dialogue. This establishes a mutualistic relationship in which people learn from, with and about the plant and its environment. 

In a study I compared my interactive plant to a setup where visitors of the botanic garden received the educational content through a tablet device. Results indicate that the interactive plant leads to higher learning rates and is more effective at motivating a broader group of visitors to learn about plants.

Paper of my research can be found here.

Exhibited at

  • Dutch Future Society annual event 

  • Midzomernacht at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden


Concept, development & research

  • Jelger Kroese



  • Sanne van Gammeren

Special thanks

  • Hanneke Jelles (Hortus Botanicus), for making my research at Hortus possible.

  • Rogier van Vugt (Hortus Botanicus), for being a never ending source of plant knowledge.

  • Isabelle van Loen (Davinci college) and Tom Jilink (Bonaventura college), for making it possible to research with their students.

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