Touché: Touch and Gesture Sensing for the Real World

Project Members

Ivan Poupyrev (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Munehiko Sato (University of Tokyo)
Chris Harrison (Carnegie Mellon University)
Zhiquan Yeo (Carnegie Mellon University)
Jonas Loh (Royal College of Art)

Touché is a new sensing technology that proposes a novel Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing technique that can not only detect a touch event, but simultaneously recognize complex configurations of the human hands and body during touch interaction. This allows to significantly enhances touch interaction in a broad range of applications, from enhancing conventional touchscreens to designing interaction scenarios for unique use contexts and materials. For example, in our explorations we added complex touch and gesture sensitivity not only to computing devices and everyday objects, but also to the human body and liquids. Importantly, instrumenting objects and material with touch sensitivity is easy and straightforward: a single wire is sufficient to make objects and environments touch and gesture sensitive.

We demonstrate the rich capabilities of Touché with five example setups from different application domains and conduct experimental studies that show gesture classification accuracies of 99% are achievable with our technology.


Touché is a new touch and gesture sensing technology that allows to make everyday objects, such as a common door knob, touch and gesture sensitive with just a single wire.

Touché is measuring capacitive response of object and human at multiple frequencies, a technique that we called Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing. The signal travels through different paths depending on it’s frequency, capturing the posture of human hand and body as well as other properties of the context. The resulted data is classified using machine learning algorithms to identify gestures that are then used to trigger desired responses of the user interface.

Touché can be used to recognize touch and gesture on everyday objects.

Touché can recognize how the user touches his own body.

Touché can sense touch and hand postures on everyday objects, hand grasp on hand-held devices, human gestures directly on their bodies and with unusual materials such as water.

Touché sensing is performed on a custom-made control board, which is powered by ARM Cortex-M3 120 Mhz microprocessor. The sensor board is compact, battery powered and equipped with on-board Bluetooth wireless communication. It can add touch and gesture sensitivity to a broad variety of objects by using just a single wire connection. Both stationary and handheld objects could be easily augmented with Touché sensor.

Touché can recognize how the user is grasping a handheld device.

Touché can recognize hand gestures on liquids.


Touche- Enhancing Touch Interaction-Thumbnail

Touché: Enhancing Touch Interaction on Humans, Screens, Liquids, and Everyday Objects
May 6, 2012
ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) 2012
Paper File [pdf, 9.78 MB]

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