Interaction Group

The development of interaction technologies is changing the very essence of how we live, work, and play. In our projects we imagine, invent and create future interactive environments that will change how we perceive the world around us, how we augment it with interactive computer-generated artifacts, and how we will create and build the living and work spaces of tomorrow. We find our inspiration in art and science, design and technology, and intuition and psychophysics. The projects below sample our efforts over the last several years to develop haptic and tactile displays, to design new sensing paradigms, to investigate novel display platforms, and to propose future manufacturing techniques.

Selected Projects

Printed Optics
Printed Optics (2012)
How will the objects of tomorrow be manufactured? Printed Optics proposes a design and manufacturing approach where the form and interactive functions of an object are created simultaneously using optical 3D printing technology. Sensing, display, and illumination elements can be directly embedded into the body of interactive devices, to create highly personalized future devices. [More]

REVEL (2012)
Augmented reality is not limited to visual augmentation. The REVEL project aims to overlay a layer of virtual tactile textures on everyday objects and the entire environment. We accomplish this by designing a wearable device that modifies the user’s tactile perception of the physical world. With minimal instrumentation artificial tactile sensations can be added to almost any surface or object. [More]

SideBySide (2011)
We explore how interactive computer-generated characters can be placed in our living spaces seamlessly and unobtrusively. SideBySide is an interactive system that allows multiple people to interact with their virtual characters using handheld projectors. Each projection is aware and responsive to other projections nearby, allowing natural and seamless interaction between multiple users. [More]

Touché (2012)
Touché is a new sensing technology designed to make the world around us richly interactive and responsive, easily and inexpensively. Touché can detect touch, gestures, and proximity, on everyday objects as well as the human body, living matter, and unconventional materials such as water. Complex instrumentation is not required, interactions can be detected simply by attaching a single wire. [More]

Botanicus Interacticus
Botanicus Interacticus (2012)
We envision future interaction devices that are not manufactured but are living, growing organisms. Botanicus Interacticus is an investigation into designing highly expressive interactive plants, both living and artificial. Botanicus Interacticus use Touché technology to sense proximity and gestures on plants, turning them into musical instruments, game controllers, and interactive installations. [More]

TeslaTouch (2010)
We aim to give physical feeling to virtual, computer-generated objects. TeslaTouch is a novel display technology that generates rich tactile sensations for everyday touch screens. TeslaTouch uses the electro-vibration phenomena to create a varying amount of friction between sliding fingers and a touch panel. A broad variety of tactile textures can be created to enhance touch screen interaction. [More]


The Interaction Group at Disney Research Pittsburgh was established in 2009 as a highly agile and diverse group of interaction designers, scientists, technologists, and artists. Our backgrounds span computer and material science, mechanical and electrical engineering, perception and psychology, industrial and graphic design, and visual art and communication.

Current Members: Ali Israr, Scott Hudson, Eric Brockmeyer, Chris Harrison, Chris Ioffreda, Matthew Glisson, Alex Rothera, M. Emre Karagozler
Past Members: Ivan Poupyrev, Karl D. D. Willis, Olivier Bau, Rajinder Sodhi, Zhiquan Yeo, Ronit Slyper, Cheng Xu, Jan Stec, Jonas Loh, Daniel Leithinger, Munehiko Sato, Seung-Chan Kim, Mathieu Le Goc, Laureline Galliot

Selected Press


Bloomberg Businessweek, September 2012

New Scientist

New Scientist, Issue 2813, May 2011


Monocle, Volume 5, Issue 47, October 2011


Page, January 2011

BBC, “Disney develops 3D-printed lighting for toys”, October 2012
Gizmodo, “3D-Printed Optics Could Light Up the Gadgets of the Future”, October 2012
Fast Company, “Disney Creates A Method To Turn Any 3-D Surface Into A Display”, October 2012
Technology Review, Disney Researchers Add Virtual Touch to the Real World, August 2012
Huffington Post, “Botanicus Interacticus: Disney’s ‘Interactive Plant Technology’ Turns Plants Into Musical Instruments”, August 2012
NBC News, “Plant tech turns your ficus into a remote control”, August 2012
Creative Applications, “Botanicus Interacticus – Designing interactive plants at Disney Research”, June 2012
Washington Post
, “Disney may be on to something: New technology could bring objects to life”, May 2012
Time, “When I Think About My Computer, I Touch Myself”, May 2012
Fox News, “Disney bringing touch controls to body parts, water, more”, May 2012
Gizmodo,  “Mind-Blowing Disney Sensor Tech Brings Gesture Based Computing To Everyday Objects”, May 2012
Wired,  “SideBySide Uses Handheld Projectors for Multiplayer Games“, October 2011
Technology Review, “With SideBySide, Projections Interact”, October 2011
MSNBC“Feel the future: Touch screens that touch back”, December 2010
CNN, “When glass touch screens feel like sandpaper“, October 2010

Selected Awards

2012 – Nokia Ubimedia MindTrek Award (NUMA), Botanicus Interacticus
2012 – World Technology Award, Entertainment Category, REVEL
2012 – UIST Best Demo Award, Printed Optics
2012 – UIST Best Paper Nomination, Printed Optics
2012 – CHI Best Paper, Touché
2011 – UIST Best Demo Award, SideBySide
2011 – UIST Best Paper, SideBySide
2011 – World Haptics Best Demo, TeslaTouch


drinfo [at] disneyresearch [dot] com