Disney Research, Pittsburgh
At present, touchscreens can differentiate multiple points of contact, but not who is touching the device. In this work, we consider how the electrical properties of humans and their attire can be used to support user differentiation on touchscreens or any other touch interface.
We propose a novel sensing approach based on Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing, a technique investigated in Electrostatic Vibration sensing technology, that we proposed and investigated earlier. Electrostatic Vibration measures the impedance of a user to the environment by sweeping across a range of AC frequencies. Different people have different bone densities and muscle mass, they wear different clothes and footwear, and so on. This, in turn, yields different impedance profiles, which allows attribute touch events and multitouch gestures to a particular user. We refer to this technology as Capacitive Fingerprinting. Note that this technology does not require any instrumentation of the user or the environment.
Capacitive Fingerprinting has many interesting implications for interactive design, including personalization, collaborative interaction on touch surfaces, security and others. Our evaluation of this novel sensing approach demonstrate that the technique has considerable promise and further investigations are required.
Harrison, C., Sato, M., Poupyrev, I. Capacitive Fingerprinting: Exploring User Differentiation by Sensing Electrical Properties of the Human Body. In Proceedings of ACM UIST 2012, 2012 [PDF, 4.5MB].
Team and Credits
Capacitive Fingerprinting is part of the broader investigation of Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing techniques in touch and gesture interaction that is conducted by the Haptics Team at Disney Research Pittsburgh.
drinfo [at] disneyresearch [dot] com
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