Irrigation Controller

A simple concept for a garden irrigation system that monitors soil moisture and reports data to a central server. The sensors are solar powered, and only report data when in full sunlight. The sensors are “asleep” until activated by the sun. Activation makes for a lively sensor that reports often. I would like to exploit this narrative element to create a tangible interface through which a user controls his/her irrigation. Typically, this control is given to a timer that automates the process, removing any potential for a participatory experience. The system is unseen, and ultimately forgotten about so long as it invisibly performs its task. What happens if this task becomes an enjoyable experience requiring the user’s attention? The design challenge is to create a tangible interface which promotes this type of long term, mindful, interaction. What would this interface look like? What behaviors might it exhibit? How does narrative play a role in designing both the system and the interface?

Creating such interfaces is the basis for this thesis.

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