The continuous climate changes that have been taking place in the last century have led to an increase in the number of environmental concerns, which, in turn, has resulted in the appearance of a growing body of research. This research is meant to examine the relation between computing and the environment, between HCI and sustainability, even though people are still reluctant to associate gardens with technology.
The Brid Bláth project explores how environmental data can be used to support members of a community garden in their usual activities. Brid Bláth is an example of an Internet of Things system that people can understand and appropriate.
The system provides the garden members with useful environmental data in order to give them an enhanced awareness of the soil and air conditions. It is comprised of one small box presented as a colorful, plastic flower, which represents the waterproof shield for the Arduino circuit, a waterproof shield for one of the sensors and a web camera. They collect data from the UL Community Roof Garden and display it on the Brid Bláth web page (http://garden.richie.idc.ul.ie/bridblath.php) and on two social networks, Twitter (https://twitter.com/BridBlath) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BridBlath) in a way that appeals to the public.
Furthermore, the system supports a permanent connection between the garden and people through broadcasting images of the UL Community Roof Garden.
While dedicated to a community, the system also addresses the individual through “bringing” the garden’s status on the users’ desk. The physical, visual representation of the state of the garden is instantiated through the Brid Bláth desk plant.