Towards Multispecies-Computer Interaction

The field of HCI focuses on the relationship between human and computer. As a consequence, nonhuman species have been overlooked within interaction design. Moving HCI beyond the anthropocene and thus reconsidering interaction is the research agenda of Fredrik Aspling’s PhD, presented shortly in the linked article:

The increased involvement of nonhuman species in interactive contexts supported by digital technology, which could be framed as multispecies-computer interaction, leads to new possibilities and forms of interactions, and consequently, a need to reconsider what this is and can be in terms of interaction. (Aspling 2015, pp. 1)

A current example of this is the possibilities that micro-controllers such as the popular Arduino offer. For instance, with humidity-sensors and potentiometers, a plant can become self-watering with the help of technology. And this relationship cannot be fully explained and analyzed using HCI.

When the focus is constantly placed on human-computer interaction, it prohibits designing experiences created for other interactions. That could be plants or animals as Aspling suggests. But by extending the field of HCI, we may also develop frameworks for inventing the future posthuman-computer or multispecies-computer interactions.




  • Aspling, Fredrik (2015): Animals, plants, people and digital technology: exploring and understanding multispecies-computer interaction. In Cheok, Adrian et al: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology. Article no. 55. ACM New York. Link: (Requires login)
  • Randofo (2012): Self-Watering Plant. Link:


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Sebastian Edin

Hi Simone,

Thank you for your post and related reading material! I wonder if you had the oppurtunity to visit the exhibition “Hybrid Matters” at Nikolaj Kunsthal, and if yes, what you made of it? Some of the works there dealt directly with the topic you present here (i.e., plant-computer interaction). I’ll provide a link in case you didn’t get to see it and wanna check some of the artists involved out.