Capacitive Fingerprinting

User Differentiation Through Capacitive Sensing

At present, touchscreens can differentiate multiple points of contact, but not who is touching the device. In this work, we consider how the electrical properties of humans and their attire can be used to support user differentiation on touchscreens. We propose a novel sensing approach based on Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing, which measures the impedance of a user to the environment (i.e., ground) across a range of AC frequencies. Different people have different bone densities and muscle mass, wear different footwear, and so on. This, in turn, yields different impedance profiles, which allows for touch events, including multitouch gestures, to be attributed to a particular user. This has many interesting implications for interactive design. We describe and evaluate our sensing approach, demonstrating that the technique has considerable promise. We also discuss limitations, how these might be overcome.





Peer Reviewed International Conferences (Oral Presentations)

Chris Harrison, Munehiko Sato, Ivan Poupyrev, “Capacitive Fingerprinting: Exploring User Differentiation by Sensing Electrical Properties of the Human Body”, ACM UIST, Boston, October, 2012.

Team and Credits

This research was undertaken at Disney Research Pittsburgh.


Media Coverage