A team of researchers has created a cheap way to give a sheet of paper sensing-capabilities to respond to gesture commands and connect to the digital world.
Researchers from University of Washington (UW), Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University developed a method that relies on small radio frequency (RFID) tags that are printed or drawn onto the paper to create interactive, lightweight interfaces that can do anything -- from controlling music using a paper baton to live polling in a classroom.
"Paper is our inspiration for this technology. If RFID tags can make interfaces as simple, flexible and cheap as paper, it makes good sense to deploy those tags anywhere," said lead author Hanchuan Li, doctoral student in computer science and engineering at UW.
The technology called "PaperID" leverages inexpensive, off-the-shelf RFID tags, which function without batteries but can be detected through a reader device placed in the same room as the tags.
Each tag has a unique identification so a reader's antenna can pick out an individual among many. These tags only cost about 10 cents each and can be stuck onto paper.
When someone waves, touches, swipes or covers a tag with hand, the hand disturbs the signal path between an individual tag and its reader. Algorithms recognise the specific movements and then classify a signal interruption as a specific command.
"These little tags, by applying our signal processing and machine learning algorithms, can be turned into a multi-gesture sensor," Li noted.
The researchers were scheduled to present the work at "Association for Computing Machinery's CHI 2016" conference in San Jose, California, this week.