Disney’s Research Arm Develops Technology to Turn Any Surface Into a Touch Sensor

Disney’s Research Arm Develops Technology to Turn Any Surface Into a Touch Sensor

Touché is a new sensing technology that proposes a novel Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing technique that can not only detect a touch event, but simultaneously recognize complex configurations of the human hands and body during touch interaction. This allows to significantly enhances touch interaction in a broad range of applications, from enhancing conventional touchscreens to designing interaction scenarios for unique use contexts and materials. For example, in our explorations we added complex touch and gesture sensitivity not only to computing devices and everyday objects, but also to the human body and liquids. Importantly, instrumenting objects and material with touch sensitivity is easy and straightforward: a single wire is sufficient to make objects and environments touch and gesture sensitive.


We demonstrate the rich capabilities of Touché with five example setups from different application domains and conduct experimental studies that show gesture classification accuracies of 99% are achievable with our technology.

We’re all fairly familiar with “Imagineering”, Disney‘s R&D branch that develops cutting-edge theme park technology and showcases the latest in moviemaking, but it’s a little known fact that the Mouse House also runs Disney Research, a group that develops technology that isn’t necessarily entertainment related.

Their latest bit of Disney magic is Touché, a technology that greatly enhances touch sensing capabilities making iPads and Androids already feel so 2012. Touché works by turning practically anything into a touch-sensitive interface, including the human body and liquids. All that’s required is a special electrode placed on the object, which in turn becomes a touch-sensitive surface, and a single wire connected to a computer. But Touché goes beyond creating touch-sensitive surfaces; multi-touch and gestures can also be used, which opens a lot of potential interactive applications.

Take a look at the video from Disney Research which demonstrates five scenarios in which Touché could someday be implemented. Some, such as the “human mp3 player,” seem more like novelty concepts. We’re particularly interested in the scenarios that detect posture. We (and Disney Research) think it could work great in a future “smart chair” that could detect an elderly or disabled person’s posture and remind them to change position or perform an action, or simply make the environment around them a little more comfortable.

Source : http://www.disneyresearch.com/research/projects/hci_touche_drp.htm

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