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Canada Input Devices Hardware

Creating a "Force Field" Invisible Touch Interface 138

angry tapir writes "Using infrared sensors like the ones on television remote controls, Texas A&M University students presented an inexpensive multitouch system at the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) conference in Vancouver. 'I like to consider it an optical force field; it's like a picture frame where we shoot thousands of light beams across and we can detect anything that intersects that frame,' said Jonathan Moeller, a research assistant in the Interface Ecology Lab at Texas A&M University. The frame is lined with 256 IR sensors, which are connected to a computer. When ZeroTouch is mounted over a traditional computer screen it turns the display into a multitouch surface. Taken one step further, if the screen is suspended then a user could paint a virtual canvas."
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Creating a "Force Field" Invisible Touch Interface

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  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:24PM (#36089196) Homepage

    Yes, the Elo CarrollTouch Touchscreens use this technique.

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Elo but we have 2 of these screens for primate research.

  • BUT.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by uncanny ( 954868 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:56PM (#36089438)
    how is this a FORCE field?
  • by jm0le ( 2139028 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @12:12AM (#36090326)
    Disclaimer: I'm the guy in the video.

    The big difference between what we're doing, and what's been done before, is that we are using one-to-many communication between emitters and sensors, as opposed to earlier systems, which use matched emitter/sensor pairs on opposite sides of the display to generate a series of parallel lines in both the x and y directions that can be interrupted.

    By reading from a large number of sensors for each infrared emitter, we generate a dense mesh of infrared light beams, which is what enables the sensor to detect multiple touches. Prior infrared systems using parallel beams suffer from ghost touch ambiguities when multiple fingers are on the display. Ours does not. This is the big differentiator between what's been done before and what we've done.

    Most SMART boards and other commercial multi-touch sensors, use two cameras in the corners of a screen (some use four), and computer vision algorithms to identify and track touches on the display. Our approach is different in that it generates a more complete visual hull of the interactive area than with these types of systems. Using two cameras means you can only reliably track two touches due to occlusion issues, whereas we can detect 20+ touchpoints with high reliability.

    More info can be found on our website: []

    The publications at the bottom of the page should help slashdot readers understand the technical innovations a little bit better.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI