A team of human-computer interaction experts have developed the logical progression after Microsoft Surface-style table-top displays: the multi-touch floor, dubbed multitoe
Designed around a rear-projected digital floor - so not the sort of thing you're likely to have in your house any time soon - by a team led by Professor Patrick Baudisch at the Hasso Plattner Institut in Germany and profiled over on The Design Blog
, the smart floor allows users to interact with a computer system despite a complete lack of furniture in the room.
Cleverly, the system includes technology to recognise each individual user based on the pattern and size of their shoes - meaning that each user can sign in and be tracked independently, and users who are not currently interacting with the system can be ignored even if they're walking across the floor. False positives are further reduced by detecting the difference between a footstep and a toe-tap - with only toe-taps being recognised as 'interaction' for the purposes of the display.
The accuracy of the foot detection even extends to allowing users to type using an on-screen - well, on-floor - keyboard which is remarkably small considering the size of the feet expected to type on it.
While the concept is unlikely to find many practical applications outside art installations - although the possibility for allowing easier computer use for those who do not have full use of their arms shouldn't be discounted - the Institute's video
shows just how clever the system is in action - including a neat section which shows the system tracking a person's balance in order to control a first-person shooter.
Are you impressed by the possibilities of an interactive multi-touch floor, or is this a step too far for the Surface-style technology? Share your thoughts over in the forums