66% or better

Theremin takes the touch out of multitouch

Multitouch builds are all the rage now, so it’s not surprising someone would come up with a multi-touchless interface sooner or later. [Hanspeter] did just that; his Multi-touchless ribbon controller, a.k.a. Polymagnetophonic Theremin is multi-touch without the touch.

[Hanspeter]‘s touchless ribbon controller uses an array of 24 Hall effect sensors that activate whenever a magnet mounted on a thimble is placed near a build. These sensors go to an ARM-equipped Maple Mini¬†to record multitouch events and send them out over Ethernet.

Even though [Hanspeter] is only using his “multi-touchless ribbon sensor” as a theremin, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be put to other uses. It’s entirely possible to place several of these magnetic sensors in an array and build a real Minority Report interface where the user interacts with a computer without touching anything.

After the break is a video demo showing off how much control [Hanspeter] can get with the thimble/magnet setup. There’s also a few demo songs made with SuperCollider¬†showing off a trio of sitar/Moog/harpsichord synths.


  1. Stol24 says:

    Great tune!

  2. JulsPower says:

    good skill on playing at it :D

  3. ginsublade says:

    that sounds awesome….perfect for some dubstep wobble synth!

  4. oodain says:

    this is an amazing piece of kit!

    cool sounds and what looks to be quite a “tactile” response.

    im definately ordering some extra pcb’s with my next batch.

  5. atomsoft says:


  6. HAD says:

    Or he could embed a magnet in his hand instead of using a thimble.

  7. Richard says:

    If you were going to make a touchless interface for text-entry, one possible layout might be a 6 (un) button touchless keyboard, like the ghost of a microwriter.

    Much younger me used to use one at work and it’s a very intuitive system to learn, and would be very easy to implement.


  8. Marshall says:

    The interface in Minority Report is not fictional. It in fact is real. http://oblong.com/ Used the movie to debut the technology. As for clear screens, look up HOLO Projection(similar tech to the tupac a while back). Since it was so out there and was in a movie people thought it was fiction. Well it is not and here is the place http://oblong.com/

  9. zuul says:

    pretty cool

  10. Oliver Heaviside says:

    Freespace control interfaces will be successful in CAD and similar applications.

    Minority report style control interfaces will not, apart from sucking budget dollars into the “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time” zone.

    To clarify: Free space gesture tracking is here to stay.

    But if your application has a minority report style control interface, you just haven’t put enough thought into it. Remember the giant nuke plant/space command looking displays of the 1970′s? Pretty, but useless.

    Yeah, it’s like that.

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