Release status: stable [box doku]
|Description||With Capatouch you can operate things without touching something.|
The idea of the Capatouch-Boxes is that you can operate things without touching something. Just place your hand or something else above the device and see how the illumination of the box will change their color. If connected to a control unit you can see, feel or hear how things in your environment will change or even disappear at the moment of operation.
The typical style of a Capatouch-Box is very easy to describe: A small, black painted box made of wood with a translucent plexiglass top. At one side of the box you will find a male XLR connector for power-supply purpose. If connected, it will shine green or red.
One box consists of a PCB, an ATMEGA8 microcontroller, a tiny capacitor and a handful green and red LEDs. For proper operation a piece of copper is glued under the top.
The inner working of Capatouch is very similar to the Labor Klingel, at least the C-Code was just a bit modified. In order to detect your hand or any other device that approaches a box, the capacitance between the copper plate at the top of the box and the world arround is measured. If it changes, the uC switches the the color of the LEDs inside. The third wire inside the XLR connection is used to send the state of each box (red/green - on/off) to the control unit. This is made by using sophisticated Hi/Lo technology.
To establish a connection between one or more boxes and the environment a control unit was built. You can connect up to 12 boxes to the unit by using XLR cables. These are robust and available in large quantity. The connection between the unit and a computer does not use a serial connection or any special protocol, but a modified USB keypad. Inside the unit is a big (lot I/Os) uC to read out the state of any box. If it changes, the uC simulate a keypress by using reed relays. Connected to the computer you can use the system like a USB keypad and trigger what ever you want by using a software like Puredata,MAX/MSP,Processing or even Ableton.
On a toilet we mounted six boxes above the bowls. Each box was connected to the mute button of different bass-lines looped in Ableton. The sound was played in the whole toilet area using a big speaker. In order to create your own toilet mix, you need to move in every cabin to get in touch with every bass line you like to hear or not. Using the Capatouch system in a situation like this, the feature of activating s.th without the need of touching a surface is, next to the aesthetical point of view, a big advantage due to hygienic reasons also.
Unfortunately there is just found-footage of the Boxes in operation during an art festival (Denkodrom @ Beatplantation, Oberhausen, GER)