Touchless Elevator Concept presents accessible solution for COVID-19 contamination

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Touchless Elevator Concept was developed by GI member Tanay Singhal, Research Intern for the Haptic Computing Lab, and co-author Mahika Phutane, a PhD student at Cornell doing research in HCI and Accessibility. A story about this work is featured on the Waterloo Homepage: Elevating haptics.

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touchless elevator
Based on prior research studies, elevators are a major source of contamination, especially during the pandemic. Publishing the concept via Medium and Github, Singhal and Phutane discuss their touchless elevator concept that uses mid-air haptic technology. Essentially, their concept would eliminate our need to touch elevator buttons as we would instead interact with touch sensations transmitted through the air that work by focusing pressure on your hands using ultrasonic frequencies.

“With this technology, you can feel three-dimensional shapes in mid-air without actually touching anything,” say Singhal and Phutane. “When you press an elevator button, you will feel mid-air touch sensations to provide feedback that you pressed it.”

Singhal and Phutane built this concept with accessibility in mind: “it features touchless tactile braille (as well as audio feedback) for the visually impaired, intuitive gestures for opening/closing doors, and a lively button magnification on hover for improved accuracy”.

“When your hand is near a button, you will feel the number it represents as a braille character, as well as audio feedback indicating which floor you are about to press”.

Read more about their Touchless Elevator Concept on Medium where they explain how they see this idea as a starting point for many more intuitive and accessible contactless interactions. The source code for this concept is available on Github.