Tutorial: Building interactive environments by means of capacitive sensor surfaces

Tutorial: Building interactive environments by means of capacitive sensor surfaces

14th International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE'18) 25-28 of June 2018, Rome - Italy http://www.intenv.org/

Abstract In this tutorial, we would like to demonstrate in practice how an environment could be made interactive. We will start with explaining the physical principles of capacitive proximity sensing. This will be demonstrated by turning various conductive materials and even liquids into sensor surfaces. Along with this, the participants will also learn how microcontrollers can be programmed to measure tiny changes of capacitance with high accuracy.
In the second part, we will present a professional capacitive sensor system which is installed underneath the floor covering to detect and analyze human movement behavior. We will describe a typical installation and customer-specific functions such as gait analysis, activity monitoring and person counting. The automatic analysis of the human gait will be shown in a practical example.
In the third part, the tutorial’s participants are encouraged to interactively configure some multimedia functions (light and sound) on a six square meter large sensor surface.

With our rather practical tutorial, we would like to initiate a process of idea-generation within the participants’ heads. We believe that intelligence requires some sort of perception of the environment which is mostly based on some sensor modality. Equipping our surroundings with such a sensor modality (i.e. capacitive proximity sensing surfaces in our case) is a simple but necessary first step towards intelligent environments. While the examples presented are rather simplistic and easy to understand, ideas of what else is possible with environments that sense and analyze human behavior arise straightforwardly.

Duration: 2h


  • Dr. Axel Steinhage, Director R&D, Future-Shape GmbH
  • Dr. Axel Techmer, Future-Shape GmbH: measurement principle, large-scale installations
  • Raoul Hoffmann, Future-Shape GmbH: gait analysis, customized functions

Contact Person: Axel.Steinhage@future-shape.com , Tel: +49 8102 8963866