Most of us associate capacitive touch sensors with the screens on our smartphones or tablets, but the technology can be applied to other fields as well. The Touché project illustrates this perfectly, integrating a more contextual method of touch sensitivity into everyday objects like door handles, tables and even water or a person’s body. One of the most interesting demonstrations of the technology behind Touché includes setting a door handle to different states by grasping it in different ways.
The Touché project is a combined effort from Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University. The obvious application is for locking and unlocking given different touches (tap, pinch, twist or grab) but the creators behind the project showed off different uses as well. Careful manipulation of your hand and finger can set a built-in screen to display “do not disturb”, “back in five minutes” or other messages. The sensors are more attuned to specific stimuli than current capacitive sensors – for example, a Touché strip can tell the difference between “five fingers and a stylus” and “six points of contact”.
Other fanciful examples of the sensor technology were Bluetooth wristbands that interpreted touches across the user’s hands and arms as music controls, sensors in a table that could detect posture (a nightmare for six-year-olds everywhere) and even extending into a bowl of soup to determine if the correct utensil was being used. The applications for this really are limitless, thanks to the fact that the Touché sensor doesn’t actually have to embed a piece of material all across a surface. Expect to see this stuff adorning the halls in Disney’s next resort.