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New Scientist has an article on turning any surface into a touch screen using small piezoelectric sensors to sense surface vibrations -

“A series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface have been developed by European researchers.

Two or more sensors are attached around the edges of the surface. These pinpoint the position of a finger, or another touching object, by tracking minute vibrations. This allows them to create a virtual touchpad, or keyboard, on any table or wall.” [via] – Link.


  • Non-Invasive washing machine cycle detector project (uses piezoelectric sensors) – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.



  1. MisterHay says:

    Nice. Looking forward to being able to set up something like that on the whiteboard in my classroom.

  2. afaust says:

    hmmm, making one out of glass would be pretty cool.

    or, how about frosted glass/acrylic, with rear-projected computer monitor graphics?

  3. ll0ll0ll says:

    so can we get some more details on this?
    I like the idea of this and (skills permitting) would be intersted in making one for my self

  4. theevilmonkey says:

    Hi, I’m also interested in making one of these. I don’t know much about piezoelectric sensors, but could you connect them to,say, pins on a serial cable and monitor the activity on the pins or something similar? I’m presuming it’s not tat straightfoward, but would that give a very rough aproximation of location? Like if ‘activity’ is high on the pins the top two are connected to but not the others then we can say we’re near the top? Sorry if this is a stupid suggestion, I’m a software engineer and have no hardware experience :)

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