Thursday 1 July 2010

TinySense - Micro GPS tracking real 3D objects on LCD screen

Girton Labs have developed a technology to track to within 5mm the position of multiple  physical objects on an  LCD  screen. The objects are placed on an LCD e.g. iPad (some testing on iPhone 4 ) with a graphic background. An example are  chess pieces which the user moves but computer needs to keep track of.  Other applications include games on pcs that use pieces e.g. Scrabble, models soldiers, ships. This sensing feature allows scores to be calculated automatically.There are music and audio applications with real control knobs on screen.
The technology is low cost, and works on many tested  lcd screens. The system uses object recognition.
Similar devices for adding object tracking to lcd screens are Microsoft Research's  Surface as here, but Microsoft's coffee table is  large and expensive,  (weight 150 pounds, cost $12,500) an iPad or standard non touch   laptop  is more suitable for consumer use in the home. iPad screen is robust for objects to be placed on with no fingerprints  ( tested this on iPhone 4).
TinySense is like GPS Satellite Navigation but for the home. It is portable and  handheld.

 iPhone 4 with test control.
Here is a video of a static sensor in test.

Advantages over prior work are:
1. works on LCD screen with graphics background
2. very low cost, approx $100 per system.
3. resolution to 5mm or better (theoretical)
4. Each object has unique identity.
5.  Very small objects can be used e.g. a MonoPoly games piece ,  with no batteries required for pieces. Battery power used for sensor receiver.
6. Multiple objects can be tracked.
7. The system can be scaled to very large displays and multiple sensors.
8. Sensing objects such as rotary controls and switches can be used.
9. Customer can fit the sensor to their own objects if they choose.

The system can also be used with printed electronics on paper (no LCD) and we are working with a Cambridge company on this system.  An example is a  MonoPoly board.

This research and invention by Lyndsay Williams was partially funded by the  East of England Development Agency. It is a research project and  not a production item yet. We are looking for developers and finance to complete.

This is the latest development of Sensesurface from Girton Labs.

TinySense and associated Intellectual Property belongs to Lyndsay Williams and Girton Labs Ltd.

 For more details contact Lyndsay Williams on +44 (0) 7970 101578, or
Current project name: TinySense