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The multi-touch floor concept

The multi-touch floor concept

The digital floor allows for full multi-touch - and can even track your balance - for some innovative interactions.

A team of human-computer interaction experts have developed the logical progression after Microsoft Surface-style table-top displays: the multi-touch floor, dubbed multitoe

Designed around a rear-projected digital floor - so not the sort of thing you're likely to have in your house any time soon - by a team led by Professor Patrick Baudisch at the Hasso Plattner Institut in Germany and profiled over on The Design Blog, the smart floor allows users to interact with a computer system despite a complete lack of furniture in the room.

Cleverly, the system includes technology to recognise each individual user based on the pattern and size of their shoes - meaning that each user can sign in and be tracked independently, and users who are not currently interacting with the system can be ignored even if they're walking across the floor. False positives are further reduced by detecting the difference between a footstep and a toe-tap - with only toe-taps being recognised as 'interaction' for the purposes of the display.

The accuracy of the foot detection even extends to allowing users to type using an on-screen - well, on-floor - keyboard which is remarkably small considering the size of the feet expected to type on it.

While the concept is unlikely to find many practical applications outside art installations - although the possibility for allowing easier computer use for those who do not have full use of their arms shouldn't be discounted - the Institute's video shows just how clever the system is in action - including a neat section which shows the system tracking a person's balance in order to control a first-person shooter.

Are you impressed by the possibilities of an interactive multi-touch floor, or is this a step too far for the Surface-style technology? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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proxess 14th April 2010, 10:16 Quote
Bundles of fun! A real kick ass Stepmania / DDR dance mat!
Autti 14th April 2010, 10:30 Quote
Oh god! Steve Jobs can now make the iMat!
Hiren 14th April 2010, 10:34 Quote
Giant multiplayer TapTap?
Artanix 14th April 2010, 10:35 Quote
ULTIMATE TWISTER!
Grimloon 14th April 2010, 10:53 Quote
Actually this could be an interesting development for properly immersive gaming. Combine this with systems like TrackIR and Video iWear melded together and you have 3D vision with head tracking. Add the touch sensitive floor and you have a system capable of tracking where you move as well as where you're looking.

The balance sensing portion should be able to pick up a change of stance (i.e. from standing to crouching and vice versa), add another sensor to track weapon movements and it could provide the mother of all FPS environments (and, incidentally, a way to get your game fix in full 3D as well as satisfy this "exercise" business people keep wittering on about without exposure to the dreaded Daystar).

Now if only I had a few million for R & D.....
Picarro 14th April 2010, 11:25 Quote
Next. The multi-touch crapper. Tracks multiple pieces of poo through the drain and displays the journey in an infographic.
[- pio -] 14th April 2010, 23:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autti
Oh god! Steve Jobs can now make the iMat!
No, no, no! You think to small, it will be the iBachelorPad! XD
The_Beast 15th April 2010, 00:56 Quote
HourBeforeDawn 15th April 2010, 05:30 Quote
this has been sorta done already I mean at the Great Mall in the Bay Area they had these patches where kids played games with their feet by stepping and kicking images projected on the ground, sure it wasnt as refined but still. I think this could be a great idea...
knuck 15th April 2010, 07:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Beast
I still think this is cooler

http://unrealitymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/the-big-piano.jpg
funny how the key under his left foot doesn't light up. The damn thing is broken and nobody in the past 22 years has noticed. What else did we miss ? Did the US finally switch to metric ?
livesabitch 16th April 2010, 07:55 Quote
i love the idea of this! what a machine you could use with this and just think of an entire wall as your screen to use this on. It would be like some films that have the same kind of thing, so it would be like you was in the film! How cool is that!
i would like to see this for myself in action and give it a try to see how easy it would be to use.
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