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Multitoe Project Offers New Touch Interface

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Multitoe interface

Demonstrated at CHI2010, the prototype Multitoe interface allows users to draw, control a game, and use a keyboard.

Credit: Hasso Plattner Institut

Multitoe, a system that turns a floor into a touchscreen, was on display at the recent CHI 2010 conference in Atlanta. Researchers from the Human Computer Interaction group at Germany's Hasso Plattner Institute built a proof of concept interface that is designed to interact with a user's feet.

Multitoe sits flush with the floor and lights up when someone stands on it. The system is able to determine the identity of users based on the soles of their shoes, which are slightly different and of various sizes, and store their profiles.

The technique for direct manipulation on floors is called frustrated total internal reflection with high camera resolution, and from below it injects light into the pane of glass on which a user stands. Pressure sensors and gait detection enable the software to determine when someone wants to walk around the room and when someone wants to use the system.

The prototype was small enough for about one user, but the researchers say the concept could scale to the size of a warehouse floor.

View a video showing the Multitoe interface exercising control via an on-floor screen.

From PC World
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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