Build a Touchless 3D Tracking Interface with Everyday Materials

Nick Normal

I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

421 Articles

By Nick Normal

I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

421 Articles


Combine low-tech materials with some high-tech components and build a completely Touchless 3D Tracking Interface. Explore capacitive sensing by using several panels of cardboard lined with aluminum foil. These panels, when charged, create electric fields that correspond to X, Y, and Z axes to create a 3D cube. With the aid of an Arduino microcontroller and some supplied code, movements inside the cube are tracked as your hand moves around inside the field.

For Weekend Projects makers looking for an introduction to Arduino, this is a great project to learn from. Once you’ve gathered all your parts, this project should only take a couple hours to complete – you’ll be playing 3D Tic Tac Toe before the weekend is over!

Once your touchless 3D tracker is up and running, what you do with it is only limited by your own imagination! The original implementation of this project comes from media artist Kyle McDonald, who has suggested the following uses and applications:

  • Make an RGB or HSB color picker
  • Control video or music parameters; sequence a beat or melody
  • Large, slightly bent surface with multiple plates + a projector = “Minority Report” interface

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