By David Ponce
The above video and the technology it describes is nothing short of revolutionary. Basically, Disney Research has developed a completely new way to use touch sensing technology, so that it becomes possible to make any object, any surface, even water or a human body, touch sensitive. They call it Touché. The way it achieves this is surprisingly simple to understand. Touch tech uses electric conduction (except for older resistive devices) as the basis for determining if an object is being touched. But current tech reads the sensors at one frequency, making the tech binary in nature: either something is being touched, or it is not. What Disney Research did was start scanning across several frequencies to determine a “touch profile”, a signature disturbance in the electric current that they then assigned to several different gestures, like grabbing a door handle, or putting a finger in a bowl of water or even touching your own hands together. Each application needs to be “trained” and the profiles assigned in advance, of course, but the possibilities this opens up are pretty awesome. The video gives some examples, our favourite being a touch sensitive couch that turns the TV on when you sit, dims the lights when you lay back, and turns everything off if it senses you fell asleep.
Of course, none of this is about to hit the market, but if the tech is there and operational, it’s just a matter of time until we start seeing it.