Tact: Capacitive Sensor

An open-source Arduino shield that turns any object into a touch & proximity sensor

A gif animation explaining the TACT capacitive sensor
The measurements graph on the computer changes as the hand gets closer to the liquid turned sensor.

About Tact

Tact is a capacitive sensor that can be attached to conductive objects like a bowl of water, a banana or a metal fence. It enables tracking different kind of interactions between a human and that object. Sensing abilities include different kind of touches (like one finger, two fingers, full hand, ...) and even measuring proximity to the object.

My role in the project

Tact is made by Studio NAND in Berlin. It is an open source, low-cost alternative to the Disney Research Touché sensing technology that NAND co-developed.
When I joined the project, NAND had already finalized the hardware as well as corresponding software to demonstrate the technology.

Tact arduino shields in production
Tact Arduino shields during assembly

In a series of experiments, I investigated the sensor and it's abilities from an outsider's perspective. I tried to understand and identify problems that potential users would have while getting started and using the sensor.

Amongst other minor improvements, I refined the serial communication protocol for sensor/microcontroller/computer and developed an easy-to-use Arduino library to use with the board. Furthermore, I produced several static and animated graphics to help explain the technology.

Head over to my Tact Arduino Library on GitHub for a thorough explanation of the sensor.

Ask Studio NAND for a Tact shield. Or just build your own, it's easy.


Tact Sensor: Studio NAND and Tomek Ness
Arduino Library: Philipp Schmitt