Humans do not always communicate with natural life in their built environment as ‘equal beings’. Actions like stepping on ants or throwing cigarette ashes in flower pots are a few examples that show this lack of empathy towards nature.

Martin is a plant that can communicate with humans through a smart terrarium, engaging its users in a symbiotic relationship. Martin includes three main interactions: a screen that shows its sunlight, water and love levels; colored lights (red, yellow, green) to express its different emotions; and rain and thunder sounds to express gratitude or discontent. Martin’s terrarium is a self-sufficient environment supported by motion sensors, a solar panel and a water tank.

Rain was used as a metaphor because it supports life, is unpredictable and soothing. All these attributes are reflected in Martin’s personality as well as his representation of nature and how it interacts with humans.

A learning for the team was that listening to people stories is a way to extract and understand their behaviors.