Tactile soft sensor can turn anything into a controller


“The novel part of iSoft is that it does not need any wiring or electronics within the material,” said Karthik Ramani, director of Purdue University’s C Design Lab. “The platform provides the ability to create and customize soft sensors. Even if you have no professional knowledge of electronics you can modify any object with it, including objects with complex shapes.”

The iSoft sensor is made of a “piezoresistive” carbon-filled silicone rubber, which when touched changes electrical resistance to provide sensing data. Meanwhile, an algorithm allows the sensor to continuously interact with interfaces even while it’s being stretched or deformed. But, there’s still a while to go before the toolkit sees the light of day. For now, Purdue University’s Office of Technology Commercializtion has a filed a patent for the iSoft. The researchers will dish more details at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) in Quebec City, Canada, tomorrow.

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