Disney Research has developed a new system called "Botanicus Interactus" that can turn both artificial and living plants into multitouch device controllers. Here's how it works: an electrode placed in the soil of a potted plant senses physical touch and sends the information to a computer or other connected devices. The system can identify where a person is touching a plant, how it touches it (swiping versus tapping) and can even sense when someone is about to touch a plant. Proximity and amount of touch can also be recognized, giving the participant a wide range of possible commands.
So far, the technology has been used to turn plants into musical instruments. To see how it works for yourself, check out the video below.