Touch your toes

Touch your toes
A touch sensitive floor system, that can detect individual users by their foot postures, was recently unveiled by researchers at the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the Potsdam Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany. The multi-touch system is based on frustrated total internal reflection, which has the ability to sense pressure from the user's sole. Video content demonstrates the new concept.

The researchers argue that, whilst tabletop computers cannot become larger than an arm’s length without giving up direct touch, the back-projected floor concept will allow direct manipulation via the user’s feet.

“We based our design on frustrated total internal reflection because its ability to sense pressure allows the device to see users’ soles when applied to a floor,” explained the researchers on the Institute’s website. “We demonstrate how this allows us to recognise foot postures and to identify users. These two functions form the basis of our system. They allow the floor to ignore inactive users, identify and track users based on their shoes, enable high-precision interaction, invoke menus, as well as track heads and allow users to control several multiple degrees of freedom by balancing their feet.”

Mutitoe is a research project by Caroline Fetzer, Thomas Augsten, Konstantin Kaefer, Dorian Kanitz, Rene Meusel, Thomas Stoff, Christian Holz, and Torsten Becker.

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