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Carnegie Mellon Develops Touchscreen Technology That Distinguishes Taps By Different Parts of Finger

By Carnegie Mellon News

October 21, 2011

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Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed TapSense, a system that combines a microphone with a touchscreen to distinguish the difference between the tap of a fingertip, the pad of the finger, a fingernail, and a knuckle.

"TapSense basically doubles the input bandwidth for a touchscreen," says Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. student Chris Harrison. He says TapSense is particularly useful for smaller touchscreens.

"TapSense can tell the difference between different parts of the finger by classifying the sounds they make when they strike the touchscreen," says Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. student Julia Schwarz. The technology can also tell the difference between passive tools made from materials such as wood, acrylic, and polystyrene foam, which would enable users with styluses made from different materials to work together on the same surface.

During testing, the researchers found that the TapSense system could distinguish between the four types of finger inputs with 95 percent accuracy, and could distinguish between a pen and a finger with 99 percent accuracy.

From Carnegie Mellon News
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