While current digital technology generally attempts to use onscreen buttons, touch controls and a false sense of depth to enable device controls, this approach is far from satisfactory. In many ways it is still much easier to carry out certain tasks using three-dimensional stacks of paper than the through the use of virtual layers. For this reason, a new piece of technology called FlexSense, provides an interesting and fresh concept.
Built by Microsoft Research, FlexSense is fundamentally a sheet of plastic which detect which way it is deformed and then relay this information back to a computer. This, it achieves, through the use of embedded sensor bars, as well a unique machine learning algorithm which plots the sheet’s deformation in a 3D software environment.
With this sheet of sensors, a new way of interacting with devices such as tablets can be devised. A user can lay FlexSense on top of screen in order to create a secondary display layer. This layer can then be peeled back to reveal the primary display layer on the original screen. This can be used to preview photo filters and other visual effects on images, as well as creating novel tools for image manipulation. Furthermore, the FlexSense sheet can even be used a rudimentary game controller.
Check out the video of this amazing piece of experimental tech in action in the video below: