The Sensitive Botanist

Audrey Reiley, Eugina Chun, Kimberly Blacutt, Lia Purnmasari 
project info
Oct 2023 — Dec 2023
Secondary & Primary Research | UX / UI | Prototyping User Testing | Storyboarding | Teachable Machine
This project is an immersive, sensorial experience created to enhance the visitor's engagement at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. Our design solution is a Plant Identification station smart table that identifies real plant leaves with machine learning--in which triggers a corresponding learning flow of the specific plant. In conjunction, visitors carry around an AR Magnifying glass that opens up different layers of plant facts to proximity as well as a guessing game that engages their sight, touch, and smell.
We designed both a stationary and portable experience so that we could engage users who didn't want to commit to The Botanist Glass.
Plant Identification Station UX  scans real plant leaves with machine learning.
Plant Identification station
Teachable Machine (Kim)
UX / UI Process (Eugina)
How could we design for a visitor experience at Phipps that gets people to notice and appreciate the subtleties of the plants they encounter so that they can better see their value and become inspired to care for, learn about, and connect with them?

The table asks questions to notice the leaf's shape, edge shape, and venation pattern. In doing so, visitors can notice the same attributes when observing other plant life.
The Botanist Glass displays additional plant information and engage users in a sensory guessing game with AR
The Botanist glass
Protopie & NFC (Lia)
UX / UI (Lia, Eugina)
3D modeling (Audrey)
Concept (Lia)
Concept brainstorming
The team made a deliberate decision to not create an app the visitors had to download. The case will be a museum rental with a UI style legible on different backgrounds. It comes with simple controls so that visitors can engage in exploring.
Research process image by Kim
visitors desired to be engaged closely with plants
Observational / field research (8)
Semi-structured interviews (10)
Expert interviews (3)
In our research, we observed that while most visitors were engaging passively with the exhibit, some were already smelling the flowers, touching the plants, and having conversations around plant care.

As a team, we were looking for ways to augment our natural ways of engaging with plant life--which engaged human senses. This led to design solutions that helped visitors to be more in tune with their present senses with the plants.