Disney Research is no stranger to creating unique touch interfaces, and its latest is able to turn any plant into a multi-touch controller. Dubbed Botanicus Interacticus, the system consists of a single electrode that's placed into the soil, turning an ordinary plant into something much more interactive. It can recognize where on the plant you are touching and can register multiple inputs. For example, in the video below, different interactions — such as tapping a leaf or sliding your finger along the stem — are mapped to different sounds, creating a plant that doubles as a musical toy.
According to Disney, the system can work with both real and artificial plants. "From the viewpoint of our sensor," the company says, "there is no difference between living and artificial." As for actual applications for the technology, Disney says that it can be used to "design highly interactive responsive environments based on plants." It was recently demonstrated at the "emerging technologies" section of SIGGRAPH 2012, alongside the likes of the soap-bubble display.