A team of researchers from Disney and Carnegie Mellon University have collaborated and come up with an interesting bit of technology that might be useful for many of us in the future. The technology uses what is called Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing and apparently will allow nearly any object to sense multiple points of contact. One example that is highlighted is if doorknobs are made using the technology; it will understand when it should lock based on just your finger positioning. One other example which might better illustrate how the technology works is the scenario where when a person is lying down on their bed, the lights will go off, but when their feet touch the floor, the lights go on.

Touche which is the name given to the small little chip seems to be able to be connected to anything including humans apparently and it allegedly senses not only touches in a binary technique as in whether or not there is a touch, but also the ability to see how a person accomplishes the touch. It can be a one finger touch, a two finger pinch, a grasp or something else along that line. Beyond that, the technology behind Touche can seemingly be connected with minimal wiring and will even work under water to sense a variety of different ‘touches’. The application for the technology involved here seems limitless and as you can see from the video, if it is applied to smartphone technology, you might look a little weird walking down the road and putting your hands together while you’re switching to the next song on your playlist but hopefully all that is customizable.

As mentioned above, the whole idea of Touche revolves around Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing (SFCS) which can not only detect a touch event, but also complex configurations of the human hands and body. Contextual information like that is said to be able to enhance touch interaction in a broad range of applications, from the normal touchscreen devices we have now to unique contexts and products. According to the team of researchers, the rich capabilities of Touche can be demonstrated with five example setups from different application domains and conduct experimental studies that show gesture classification accuracies at an alleged 99%.

For now, there is no news if it has made its way out to the consumer market but the team behind it doesn’t want to let on more information than they have to about the inner workings of it. What we can extrapolate from this though is amazing. Think about scenarios where you walk into a room, sit down on the couch turn your head left and right like  you’re looking for the remote control and it lets out a little beep to indicate where it is. Of course that is just an example off the top of my head but as the team or researchers said, the potential of this technology is just huge.

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