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JADE – jade Ambient Design Experience


The team based project assigned in class was designed to address the CHI 2009 Student Design Competition Problem. The problem can be summarized as “Use local resources to promote sustainability”. We narrowed our scope to local and urban farming and then further to community gardens. Our final design focused improving the community around the garden.


We used ambient technology to increase awareness of the community surrounding a particular garden.  Community members would have a plant in their homes that is wirelessly linked to their garden.  When a member enters the garden to work, the linked plants would glow to remind non-working members that there is a garden and that there are people currently there working.  As more members enter the garden, the plant would glow more.

The idea is to let community members know that there is a community surrounding their garden.  People are more likely to participate in a group activity if there are actually group members there to participate with.  As community members work together, they are more likely to form relationships with each other which would increase the likelyhood that they would return to the garden.  With more people tending to the garden more often, the garden will thrive.


We prototyped the ambient plant device using a normal house plant wrapped in Christmas lights connected to a dimmer switch.  During user testing, a team member would operate the dimmer switch to simulate the ambient interaction.

The JADE Prototype


Our team consisted of 4 primary members:

Additionally, Xuan Wang was an initial member and assisted in user research. The rest of the team decided to continue on with the project after the semester ended. Upon semester’s end, Xuan rejoined the team in my place.  They conducted further research and finally submitted to CHI.

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