We have seen some incredible projects from Microsoft Research in the past, add FlexSense to that list. In this project, Microsoft Research has come up with a thin-film, transparent sensing surface which are embedded with sensors. This transparent thin film can be used to perform variety of tasks on a touch device like Surface. For example, you can use it for layered input, style previewing and more. Watch the video above to know other applications.
We present FlexSense, a new thin-film, transparent sensing surface based on printed piezoelectric sensors, which can reconstruct complex deformations without the need for any external sensing, such as cameras. FlexSense provides a fully self-contained setup which improves mobility and is not affected from occlusions. Using only a sparse set of sensors, printed on the periphery of the surface substrate, we devise two new algorithms to fully reconstruct the complex deformations of the sheet, using only these sparse sensor measurements. An evaluation shows that both proposed algorithms are capable of reconstructing complex deformations accurately. We demonstrate how FlexSense can be used for a variety of 2.5D interactions, including as a transparent cover for tablets where bending can be performed alongside touch to enable magic lens style effects, layered input, and mode switching, as well as the ability to use our device as a high degree-of-freedom input controller for gaming and beyond.
I hope Microsoft Surface accessories team takes a look at the possibilities of FlexSense.