The UnMousePad: An interpolating multi-touch force-sensing input pad

Ilya Rosenberg, Ken Perlin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Recently, there has been great interest in multi-touch interfaces. Such devices have taken the form of camera-based systems such as Microsoft Surface [de los Reyes et al. 2007] and Perceptive Pixels FTIR display [Han 2005] as well as hand-held devices using capacitive sensors such as the Apple iPhone [Jobs et al. 2008]. However, optical systems are inherently bulky while most capacitive systems are only practical in small form factors and are limited in their application since they respond only to human touch and are insensitive to variations in pressure [Westerman 1999]. We have created the Un Mouse Pad, a flexible and inexpensive multitouch input device based on a newly developed pressure-sensing principle called Interpolating Force Sensitive Resistance. IFSR sensors can acquire high-quality anti-aliased pressure images at high frame rates. They can be paper-thin, flexible, and transparent and can easily be scaled to fit on a portable device or to cover an entire table, floor or wall. The Un Mouse Pad can sense three orders of magnitude of pressure variation, and can be used to distinguish multiple fingertip touches while simultaneously tracking pens and styli with a positional accuracy of 87 dpi, and can sense the pressure distributions of objects placed on its surface. In addition to supporting multi-touch interaction, IFSR is a general pressure imaging technology that can be incorporated into shoes, tennis racquets, hospital beds, factory assembly lines and many other applications. The ability to measure high-quality pressure images at low cost has the potential to dramatically improve the way that people interact with machines and the way that machines interact with the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number65
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 27 2009
EventACM SIGGRAPH 2009, SIGGRAPH '09 - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2009Aug 7 2009


  • FSR
  • IFSR
  • Input devices
  • Mobile and personal devices
  • Multi-touch devices
  • Sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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