[ISEA2011] Paper: Salvatore Iaconesi, Luca Simeone & Cary Hendrickson – Leaf++


Natural interfaces and cross-medial technologies allow for the creation of new publishing paradigms in which the term “book” can be disarticulated and rearranged into unexpected forms, fostering new ways of interacting with data and information.

Leaf++ is the product of a research project that goes in this direction in which a prototypal interactive system involving computer vision, gestural interfaces, augmented reality technologies and cross medial systems to create a novel tool to experience botanical information about plants and their leaves.

In Leaf++ an interactive surface and a mobile application can be used to access information of a leaf. By placing the leaf on the interactive surface or by taking a picture of it using the mobile application, a computer vision system is able to recognize it (if it already has been added to a database) and to show available information sources including scientific classification and information, habitat information, world diffusion data, seasonality, curiosities, videos, images and stories regarding the leaf and the plant to which it belongs. Researchers and other forms of users are also allowed to add information to the system: by simply uploading texts, images, videos and geographical locations, they can contribute to the set of information available for the recognized leaf.

The overall interactive system comes out as a really significant experience, employable according to various usage scenarios that go from scientific research to education, to mobile and museum-based entertainment,  which not only suggest possible effective uses for these ubiquitous, cross-medial technologies, but also enacts information access and knowledge sharing practices which are outstanding from the point of view of their usability, and of the cognitive approaches fostered by such direct, “augmented” methodologies.

Leaf++ is a cross-medial, augmented reality, multi-author, emergent, evolving and disseminated publication.

  • Salvatore Iaconesi,is an interaction designer, robotics engineer, artist, hacker. He currently teaches Interaction Design and cross-media practices at the University of Rome, Italy, “La Sapienza”, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Industrial Design. He produced videogames, artificial intelligences, expert systems dedicated to business and scientific research, entertainment systems, mobile ecosystems, interactive architectures, cross-medial publications, augmented reality systems, and experiences and applications dedicated to providing products, services and practices to human beings all over the world, enabled by technologies, networks and new metaphors of interactions, across cultures and languages.  He is president of FakePress Publishing, a cross-media publishing house and think tank researching on the future of publishing, education and communication practices. His artworks and performances have been featured worldwide at festivals and conferences. Salvatore actively participates to global discussions and actions on the themes of freedoms, new forms of expression and on the future scenarios of our planet from the points of view of energy, environment, multi-cultural societies, gender mutation, sustainability and innovation on both society and business, collaborating with institutions, enterprises and international research groups. artisopensource.net  fakepress.it
  •  Luca Simeone teaches design anthropology and interaction design at La Sapienza University and Ateneo Impresa Graduate Business School in Rome, Italy. He has published reviews and articles on design anthropology and ethnographic methods applied to design practices. He co-edited the books Beyond Ethnographic Writing (Armando, 2010) and REFF (DeriveApprodi, 2010) exploring new narratives that combine traditional writing with augmented reality technologies. In 2009 he founded FakePress, a think tank exploring the future of publishing and in 2011 he was a research affiliate with the SENSEable City Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge MA, USA. He is also the founder and user experience director of Vianet, a digital design agency based in Rome, Doha and Toronto. Since being founded in 1999, Vianet has created high-impact and award-winning products for select international clients, applying ethnographic methods to design practice. As a creative team manager, Luca has developed more than 500 web projects for Clients such as MTV, Nintendo, Playstation, United International Pictures, Dior, Italian Prime Minister, the Government of Singapore, and the Eternal Gandhi Museum, among others. His agency’s projects have won several international awards and have been frequently mentioned in books and magazines world-wide. He works as independent expert for the European Commission and for the German Aerospace Center.
  • Cary Hendrickson is a PhD. candidate in Economic Geography at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy, and in Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. With an MSc. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science from Lunds Universitet, Sweden her current focus is on the theoretical and empirical intersections of political ecology and human geography, new technologies geared towards communicating sustainability and institutions for environmental management. Her dissertation research is looking at the functioning of and discursive meanings behind the market for carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

Full text (PDF) p. 1260-1266