deFORM: An Interactive Malleable Surface For Capturing 2.5D Arbitrary Objects, Tools and Touch

Sean Follmer, Micah Johnson, Edward Adelson, Hiroshi Ishii


We introduce a novel input device, deForm, that supports 2.5D touch gestures, tangible tools, and arbitrary objects through real-time structured light scanning of a malleable surface of interaction. DeForm captures high-resolution surface deformations and 2D grey-scale textures of a gel surface through a three-phase structured light 3D scanner. This technique can be combined with IR projection to allow for invisible capture, providing the opportunity for co-located visual feedback on the deformable surface. We describe methods for tracking fingers, whole hand gestures, and arbitrary tangible tools. We outline a method for physically encoding fiducial marker information in the height map of tangible tools. In addition, we describe a novel method for distinguishing between human touch and tangible tools, through capacitive sensing on top of the input surface. Finally we motivate our device through a number of sample applications.

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