An Inexpensive Pressure-Sensitive Touch Pad Makes Surfaces Smarter

kevin perlin

Ken Perlin (left) and Ilya Rosenberg show off the plastic sheets that are the starting point for their pressure-sensitive touch pads.

Now that more and more smart phones and MP3 players have touch-screen interfaces, people have grown accustomed to interacting with gadgets using only taps and swipes of their fingers. But on the 11th floor of a downtown Manhattan building, New York University researchers Ilya Rosenberg and Ken Perlin are developing an interface that goes even further. It’s a thin pad that responds precisely to pressure from not only a finger but a range of objects, such as a foot, a stylus, or a drumstick. And it can sense multiple inputs at once.

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