Leaf++ on Leonardo Electronic Almanac

Our text about Leaf++ has been just published on Not Here Not There Part 2, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 19 Issue 2.

LEAF++: Transformative Landscapes
+ Interview, Statement, Artwork [LINK]

by Salvatore Iaconesi, Luca Simeone, Oriana Persico, Cary Hendrickson

“Landscapes mark a certain terrain, delineating here from there and beyond: places and spaces of reference for our memories, our actions, helping us to place our being in specific moments. From private gardens to rolling hillsides in the country, landscapes represent overlapping visions of what is universal and at the same time personal. A multi-sensory experience we build and engage in anywhere, at any time. LEAF++ is a presentation and research project, an attempt at combining what we experience as individuals and, through the use of open source augmented reality (AR), adding on to the layers of what can be experienced by the wider community of users of a given site. The AR system combines computer vision techniques and allows for interactive experiences, educational contents and other information to be attached to leaves and other parts of plants: users contribute their own images, video, audio or other multi-media information to existing data available such as information about the plant’s habitat and biophysical characteristics. The LEAF++ project has been applied to not only identify Gilles Clément’s Third Landscape but also create a transformative view on urban space and foster experiential, analytical and aesthetic links between a diverse audience’s visions, perceptions and behaviors.


Full article is available for download as a pdf here.

Volume 19 Issue 2 of Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) is published online as a free PDF but will also be rolled out as Amazon Print on Demand and will be available on iTunes, iPad, Kindle and other e-publishing outlets.


LEA Volume 19 Issue 2
Volume Editors: Lanfranco Aceti and Richard Rinehart
Editors: Ozden Sahin, Jonathan Munro and Catherine M. Weir

ISBN: 978-1-906897-23-9
ISSN: 1071-4391
Date of Publication: April 15, 2013
Number of Pages: 221

Future Learning Spaces at Aalto University

Last year we attended the Designs on E-Learning 2011 Conference in Aalto University, Helsinki.

It was a brilliant conference, for both content and process, and was really focused on creating the best possible environment to allow free, open emergence of the expressions of the many areas of innovation on knowledge, learning and education practices which the impressive list of researchers and practitioners are leading in multiple parts of the world.

The great feeling and the effectiveness of discussion is reflected in the newly published proceedings of the conference.

Designs on E-Learning 2011, conference proceedings

Designs on E-Learning 2011, conference proceedings

You can download a copy BY CLICKING HERE or on the download link for DoEL 2011 conference proceedings, PDF here on our website.

The book is available for download at the Aalto University bookstore, by clicking on this link.

please cite the book as:

Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss (ed.), Owen Kelly (ed.), “Future Learning Spaces”, 2011, Helsinki, Aalto University publication series, ISBN 978-952-60-4517-7

please cite our paper as:

Salvatore Iaconesi, Luca Simeone, Cary Hendrickson, Oriana Persico, “Connective environmental education: augmented-reality enhanced landscapes as distributed learning ecosystems.”, in “Future Learning Spaces”, Designs on elearning conference proceedings, Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss & Owen Kelly (eds.), pp. 312-321, 2011, Helsinki, Aalto University publication series, ISBN 978-952-60-4517-7

Leaf++ an augmented reality concert for leaves (the making of)

This video shows the setup of the Leaf++ augmented reality performance.

This is the second component of the Leaf++ project, a collaborative environment which uses computer vision and augmented reality to recognize and identify leaves, allowing to use them to share information and media (which can be added to them using a mobile application) and to use them in performative environments.

Leaf++ augmented reality concert for leaves

Leaf++ augmented reality concert for leaves

This video shows the second component. Here, leaves can be used on a lightbox to be recognized by a webcam and computer vision algorithm using the leaf descriptors created using the mobile application.

When leaves are recognized, their contours are used in a sond synthesizer algorithm and can be played live.

As you can see in different parts of the video, fingers moving the leaves around the lightbox are recognized and tracked as blobs, but they don’t generate any sound, which only uses the contours of the recognized leaves.

An interesting experiment we performed (a short video coming up soon) uses basic sine waveforms generated using the amplitudes and moments of the leaves contours (HU invariant moments): when you close your eyes and listen to the sounds generated by different types of leaves, it is possible to recognize them, and this is a really interesting area for research dedicated to people with disabilities who might use these techniques as a way to identify objects around them.

This part of the project is implemented using openframeworks and a video is coming up soon documenting a version for iPhone and Android

more info about Leaf++ on the website:


Leaf++, a video of the first prototype

Leaf++ is an augmented reality and computer vision system which uses smartphones to recognize leaves found in the natural environment.

In this first promo video you will see some basic features of the system, embedded into a social network in which users share information on leaves: you can recognize a leaf using computer vision and write onto it.


People using Leaf++ on the a certain type of leaf will see the content written on it by previous users, thus enacting an ubiquitous social and knowledge network which is directly available in the natural environment.

Watch out for the next videos in which we will show an art performance in which leaves are used in an augmented reality concert using the shapes found in the natural environment to create live generative music and visuals.

Leaf++ will be officially presented at ISEA 2011 in Istanbul, and then at Mindtrek 2011, at DEOL 2011, and it has already been published on Parsons Journal for Information Mapping and on MediaDuemila.

Watch out for more presentations, publications and performances.

More info on



Leaf++ at Designs on E-Learning, in Finland

Leaf++ will be presented at the Designs on E-Learning conference in Helsinki, Finland.



From the conference website:

Future Learning Spaces
The notion of space regains fresh momentum every time we interact with the world around us. As mobile devices weave into the fabric of everyday life, we are no longer confined to a specific location, time and place in accessing and interacting with communications technologies. Interfaces become more adaptable and fluid according to the user’s needs; capable of switching seamlessly between augmented, real and virtual information and communication techniques and practices.