Sensing has played a significant role in the evolution of ubiquitous computing systems, enabling many of today’s compelling interactive and ubiquitous experiences. In this paper, we argue for expanding the current landscape of sensing to include living organisms such as plants and animals, along with traditional tools and digital devices. We present a comprehensive field study of ten individuals who routinely work with living organisms such as plants, fish, reptiles and bees, and rely on these organisms as well as analog instruments and digital sensors to infer environmental conditions and inform future actions. Our findings offer a new perspective on everyday biomarkers, and we use the lens of organic and non-digital sensing to reflect on current sensing paradigms in ubiquitous computing. Three opportunity areas to help frame future work in ubiquitous sensing: (1) incorporating traditional technologies and living systems into ubiquitous sensing applications, (2) developing information technologies that teach new ways of ‘seeing’, and (3) supporting richer forms of metadata to unite stakeholders through their actions, interests and concerns. This project received a best paper award at Ubicomp 2011.
Kuznetsov, S., Odom, W., Pierce, J., Paulos, E. (2011). Nurturing Natural Sensors. In Proceedings of the international conference on Ubiquitous computing. Beijing, China. Ubicomp ’11. ACM Press, 227-236. *Best Paper Award* (Local Copy, ACM Link)