We’re all fairly familiar with “Imagineering”, Disney‘s R&D branch that develops cutting-edge theme park technology and showcases the latest in moviemaking, but it’s a little known fact that the Mouse House also runs Disney Research, a group that develops technology that isn’t necessarily entertainment related.
Their latest bit of Disney magic is Touché, a technology that greatly enhances touch sensing capabilities making iPads and Androids already feel so 2012. Touché works by turning practically anything into a touch-sensitive interface, including the human body and liquids. All that’s required is a special electrode placed on the object, which in turn becomes a touch-sensitive surface, and a single wire connected to a computer. But Touché goes beyond creating touch-sensitive surfaces; multi-touch and gestures can also be used, which opens a lot of potential interactive applications.
Take a look at the video from Disney Research which demonstrates five scenarios in which Touché could someday be implemented. Some, such as the “human mp3 player,” seem more like novelty concepts. We’re particularly interested in the scenarios that detect posture. We (and Disney Research) think it could work great in a future “smart chair” that could detect an elderly or disabled person’s posture and remind them to change position or perform an action, or simply make the environment around them a little more comfortable.
Journal article (PDF): Touché: Enhancing Touch Interaction on Humans, Screens, Liquids, and Everyday Objects
More info from Disney Research: Touché…