Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Disney Research turns any plant into a multitouch controller

       Disney’s researchers have come up with a way to turn any plant into both a multitouch controller and musical instrument.

         All you have to do is place the wire in your plant’s soil, then the outline of the plant will appear on the computer screen and it can then measure when you touch it, where or even when you are just close to the plant. It lights up in red where it thinks you’re touching it, these gestures can then be transformed to create sounds/music, and even to become a multitouch controller.

                           The technology is very precise and treats all plants like an electrical circuit, even fake ones. The system works by using Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing (SFCS) which uses the same technology that’s in your smartphone’s touchscreen but, instead of using a single frequency, it senses electrical signals across multiple frequencies. This means it can detect more complex touch patters, such as a hand in water or a door knob being grasped.
       The project is called Botanicus Interactus and Disney are currently showing off the tech at the Siggraph Emerging Technology expo. Visitors will be able to touch both real and fake plants and will see the results on the screen in front of them in both an audio and visual form. The more people interacting, the more complex and beautiful the images and sound become. Each plant can recognize different gestures so the visual and audio reactions will vary.               Theoretically this clever technology could be expanded to more than just plants, you could turn almost anything into a controller for your computer. For now though, you may just want to stick to your trusty mouse.


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