Electrick: Low-Cost Touch Sensing Using Electric Field Tomography

Yang Zhang, Gierad Laput, Chris Harrison (CHI 2017)

Electrick is a low-cost and versatile sensing technique that enables touch input on a wide variety of objects and surfaces, whether small or large, flat or irregular. This is achieved by using electric field tomography in concert with an electrically conductive material, which can be easily and cheaply added to objects and surfaces. We show that our technique is compatible with commonplace manufacturing methods, such as spray/brush coating, vacuum forming, and casting/molding, enabling a wide range of possible uses and outputs. Our technique can also bring touch interactivity to rapidly fabricated objects, including those that are laser cut or 3D printed. Through a series of studies and illustrative example uses, we show that Electrick can enable new interactive opportunities on a diverse set of objects and surfaces that were previously static.

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Yang Zhang, Gierad Laput, and Chris Harrison. 2017. Electrick: Low-Cost Touch Sensing Using Electric Field Tomography. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025842