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Disney researchers creating tech that makes any material touch responsive, video inside

Disney;s researchers in Pittsburgh have posted a video that shows their 'Paper Generator' in action. It has been designed to turn any material interactive through the generation of energy. See it in action here.

The video above is not to be confused with touch screens, instead, it's a way of making objects touch-responsive by creating energy via a person's touch. This Disney Research post explains, "We present a new energy harvesting technology that generates electrical energy from a user’s interactions with paper-like materials.

"The energy harvesters are flexible, light, and inexpensive, and they utilize a user’s gestures such as tapping, touching, rubbing and sliding to generate energy. The harvested energy is then used to actuate LEDs, e-paper displays and other devices to create interactive applications for books and other printed media."

The Paper Generator test sheet consists of a Teflon sheet and two conductive layers. When touched, rubbed or rolled, the charge then powers the sheet, potentially lighting up any attached LEDs, sound devices or other components.

“Though the fundamental principles of operation remain the same, it’s possible to build Paper Generators that respond to a number of different gestures, such as tapping, touching, rubbing or sliding,” said Ivan Poupyrev, director of Disney Research, Pittsburgh’s Interaction Group. “We can imagine any number of ways to use this to add sights, sounds and other interactivity to books and other printed materials inexpensively and without having to worry about power sources.”

The tech will be showcased at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Scotland between Oct 8-11.

Why is this gaming news you ask? Well Disney and other companies - specifically Nintendo and Activision are looking at ways to blend physical toys and games in new ways. When you consider the way that they work in practice, Paper Generator tech could also be used as a bridge between physical objects and on-screen ones down the line.

How do you think this tech could be used in a gaming sense?

Via Polygon.

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About the Author
Dave Cook avatar

Dave Cook


Living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Writing a game called Jettison and a book called Seventh Circle. Loves spicy food.

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