Sticky light


With the availability of webcams and projectors, multitouch and interactive demos have become increasingly popular because they’re so easy. Students at the University of Tokyo took a new approach that uses lasers instead. They created Sticky Light, which uses mirrors, a laser, and a single photodetector. Unlike camera-tracking setups, this system requires no visual processing. The laser moves around and bumps into dark objects, sticking to them. It can follow drawings on the table or objects in space, such as shirt designs. They also created a few basic games and a demo that makes sounds based on the movement of the spots. Video of the project after the break.

[via today and tomorrow]


  1. Agent420 says:

    i wonder what kind of galvo setup they’re using?

  2. techyguru says:

    Very nice. Simple but elegant.

  3. raged says:

    very cool

  4. samurai says:

    that sure isnt a lot of documentation for an educational institution… =[

  5. entropia says:

    isn’t this just what university research should *not* be like? it’s just results, results, i thought the important bit was how you got there.

    like this it’s a nice toy, but i wanna see how they did it.

  6. polymath says:

    I’d like to see this done with different color lasers. that or maybe interaction between two different units.

    something like a pacman scenario.

  7. jo says:

    Real life Crayon Physics!

  8. Jeff says:

    that would drive a cat nuts!

  9. axodus says:

    they have some docomentation reference down this page:

  10. ReKlipz says:

    The term photodetector is very generic. What type of photodetector, does anyone know?

    According to Wikipedia, a CCD is considered a type of photodetector as well.

  11. andrew says:

    needs more arduinos.

  12. alexander prillo says:

    i just wanna know how to make this one.. can anyone help me..? please, i think i need to do this so i can present something new in our science investigatory projecf..

  13. mess says:

    alexander prillo, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of a science investigatory project? If the answer was presented to you, you would have the answer… just break it into known components, worn on those and then piece it together. If it doesn’t work right at first, keep working at it and it will soon enough.

  14. mess says:

    *work on those*

  15. alexander prillo says:

    um, i dunno.. but i’m trying, i just want to know how to do that. and i dunno what’s the materials.

  16. alexander prillo says:

    and i just wanna make it cuz im curious..

  17. mem.namefix says:

    freaking awesome.

    Yes I want to make one but Id honestly buy one of these to. I imagine will pick them up if they become available.

  18. Agent420 says:

    More info here:

    The photodetector is just that, it measures the intensity of light reflected back from the laser and as such is able to read the light and dark areas. they mention this project is similar to a laser range finder with 3d capability and tracking algorithms.

    seems they are using a nice (expensive) set of closed loop galvos.

  19. samurai says:

    maybe i’m missing something, but how do you track an object in a 2D plane with only a single photodetector?

  20. samurai says:

    i retract my previous comment, i didnt see the link right above me -_-

  21. Roberto says:

    My cat demands one.

  22. DeFex says:

    Light spins in a circle around its current location.
    if part of the circle does not reflect back to the photodetector then the location is modified to moves away from the part of the circle where the light did not reflect.

  23. anon says:

    Replace the 0.3mW laser with a 250mW laser

  24. Wwhat says:

    Thanks for that link Agent420, I saw this elsewhere already but with the same just-videos link which leaves people like us (hackaday visitors) frustrated.
    However when you see the setup they use an awful lot of ready-made parts. it’s more artistic than technical talent I guess.

    @anon then track the rims of craters on the moon?

  25. Jynn says:

    Best cat toy ever.

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