OpenCapSense is a rapid prototyping system for designing and evaluating pervasive interaction systems based on capacitive proximity sensing. The platform was introduced in 2013 and employs state-of-the-art embedded processing capabilities with high extendibility. The whole system is licensed as open-source (hardware licensed under Creative Commons, software licensed under GPL v3), allowing researchers to experiment with capacitive sensing applications. Using OpenCapSense, one can obtain a spatial resolution of less than 1 cm at object distances of 35 cm.
Capacitive proximity sensing allows for numerous applications. We have developed numerous examples in house. The posture-recognizing couch employs eight loading mode sensors hidden below arm rest, back rest and seating cushions. Using a learning algorithm this allows recognizing occupation and different postures to control a connected home automation system for comfort applications and energy saving. A Wearable System was developed together with the TU Darmstadt combing OpenCapSense and their HedgeHog system on a wristband. It allows a more precise recognition of activities performed throughout the day by detecting surfaces and materials. Another example is the Fall-Detecting Floor with sensors placed below the surface. A high update rate allows monitoring the process of falling.
Image 1-4: fall detection using capacitive sensors
Fraunhofer IGD is actively improving and developing new systems based on OpenCapSense. This includes door systems, automotive applications, sleep analysis and unobtrusive interaction.