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Monday, June 4, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur! - Capacitive touch sensors


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

The vast majority of artificial pets and toy robots that you played with rely on common switches to create the illusion of touch. Even if the switch is covered by a layer of fur or fake skin, you can tell it is a switch by the amount of force you have to use to push on the skin, to get a reaction.

Pleo uses a radically different technology which gives it the same characteristics as a organic pet when responding to touch. Instead of switches Pleo uses capacitive touch sensors placed beneath the dino's skin. These sensors can detect the faint electric charge that people carry on them. That is why you can stroke Pleo lightly like a cat or dog instead of pressing down on him like a button. When I met with Caleb Chung and Ugobe in out meeting in April 2007, he told me you could even tune the sensors to detect the presence of the human hand even if it was a slightly above the skin; without it making any contact at all. As he pointed out, this would be a little weird so Pleo's sensors are tuned to a more natural level of response.

Just one more reason that you are going to love this little baby dino.

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