Virtual Garden is an animated visualization for indoor use. The intent of Virtual Garden is to provide an interactive home environment visualization that indicates the home divisions usage and lightning conditions. The visualization consists of a static grass background and sunflowers moving on the foreground. An arduino and two sensors are used to provide the interactivity of the visualization. A new flower is added each time the infrared sensor detects some movement. All flowers are removed from the visualization if the photo sensor detects that the room is too dark.
The intent behind the Virtual Garden is to provide a home ambient display that provides a non obtrusive awareness of two variables: lightning conditions and level of human activity in one or more areas of a home. Virtual Garden remains in the background, out of the focus of the user until noticed. A simple popping up or disappearing of the flowers expresses a change in the home environment. The sense making of the visualization is intended to occur throughout the user(s) interaction and experience with the system. In the process the user is able to know which divisions are more or less used, which of them have more people moving, entering and leaving and if the more used home divisions are the most lighted.
The used components were arduino, board, 220 ohm resistor, infrared sensor, photo resistor and wires.
Two main parts compose the software behind the system: the Arduino program and the Java program. The Arduino program is responsible for receiving and interpreting the values read from the sensors and communicating the results to the Java program, so it can perform changes in the visualization. The infrared sensor detects 1 or 0, respectively if its detecting movement or not. If it detects movement the arduino warns the Java program that a flower needs to be added to the visualization. The photo resistor detects a range of values, minimum to maximum, indicating respectively, the most dark and the most lighted the environment can get. If the environment gets to dark the arduino sends a message to the Java program to clear the visualization.