The Selfie Plant

What if nature decides to interact with humans via social networks ?



These days, unplugged places are getting hard to find. Most of us are busy with our lives, work and play. With this busy life it’s getting harder to find time for the loved ones and even for mother nature.

We looked at engagement between humans and nature : what if nature has its own voice, if it decides to get online and use social networks and raise awareness.  If it could record moments like blooming of a flower or a new leaf, and then share these moments on the social network. What if this expression could draw people’s attention and invite participation. How would people react if a normal plant starts to interact with their social lives.

Building on the selfie culture which has risen in popularity, we speculated if it is an expression for admiration or is it to achieve a sense of self, place and community? The selfie plant mimics this human like behaviour to take selfies and posts it on the facebook page. This unique and playful behaviour coupled with real time social media integration helps it to capture attention.

Audience and Reception

The Selfie Plant was an attempt to give emotions and voice to nature (a plant) and share them on social networks and spark a curiosity and start a conversation. Using technology we were able to impart behaviors into the potted plant and engage audiences at social events, this was well received and acted as a conversation starter around nature. People started posting their views on its facebook, twitter profiles, some bloggers even expressed how this concept could be extended to other issues. For example,  A melting glacier or an endangered tiger, what if they also have a voice. The online response anticipates the potential and reach of such a project.

The interactive prototype was displayed at events and was well received, a total of 25,000 loads were registered on vimeo video, and it generated more than 100,000 impressions on the web.

Selfie Plant at Trailer Park Festival


The plant is powered by Arduino Yun, which controls the servo motors and adjust the positions of the plant and the camera stick. A python script communicates with Facebook’s graph API to post the captured photos on plant’s Facebook profile. Several prototypes were made to test and validate the form and hardware/software.

Prototype 1

First Prototype

Prototype 2

prototype 2

Final Prototype was a stand alone device, with its own battery and was able to operate on wifi. We open sourced its code and specification so that people can make their own versions.


Visit its Github Page

The plant engaged to spread some awareness and sparked conversations around a possible future where freedom of speech is not just restricted to humans, but it can be given to nature and other things through technology.

Visit its Facebook Page


The project was featured by the Business Insider, Arduino Blog, Atmel Makers, The Creators Project and other websites


The project was a part the Secret Life of Objects course taught by Joshua Nobel and Simone Rebaudengo at CIID. My team included Haoyu Li and Shruti KNR.