Tag Archives: touchless gesture control interface

Touchless 3Dpad gets a Matlab update

Back in May, Ootsidebox introduced the 3Dpad, a sophisticated touchless gesture control interface with a depth perception of 10cm.

The platform – which made its Indiegogo debut last month – comprises three primary components:

“To detect the proximity of the human hand or finger, we use the projected capacitive technique. This is the principle of virtually all modern touch screens – except that now we are in the air, relatively far away from the detector surface (10 cm max). So we build capacitors which are as ‘open’ as possible, using electrodes drawn on the electrode plane PCB in order to obtain a maximum ‘hand effect,’” 3Dpad creator Jean-Noël explained.

“[Meanwhile], the capacitors formed by the electrodes are part of an oscillator whose frequency is influenced by the distance of a hand. When it enters the electrostatic field, this ‘intruder’ is going to cut the field lines and divert the electrical charges. The closer the hand approaches the electrodes, the more the oscillator’s frequency increases.”

Recently, Jean-Noël told Bits & Pieces that Ootsidebox is working with Matlab to create a 3Dpad Arduino shield as a Simulink block.

“After a discussion we had with MathWorks, we decided to make the 3Dpad Arduino shield  available as a Simulink block, downloadable from MATLAB central,” he explained.

“We are convinced that this solution, which enables graphical programing, is one of the best ways to learn and experiment with Arduino.”

In addition, says Jean-Noël, the Ootsidebox team is designing a MIDI controller for electronic music built around the 3Dpad.

“It will be based on 3Dpad shield + an Atmel-based Arduino Mega,” he added. “Making a ‘virtual percussion’ system with few 3Dpad synchronized sounds good!”

Interested in learning more about the 3Dpad? You can check out the the project’s official Indiegogo page here and browse our Ootsidebox article archive here.

Ootsidebox goes touchless with the 3Dpad



Ootsidebox has introduced the 3Dpad, a sophisticated touchless gesture control interface with a depth perception of 10cm.

The platform – which recently made its Indiegogo debut – comprises three primary components:

“To detect the proximity of the human hand or finger, we use the projected capacitive technique. This is the principle of virtually all modern touch screens – except that now we are in the air, relatively far away from the detector surface (10 cm max). So we build capacitors which are as ‘open’ as possible, using electrodes drawn on the electrode plane PCB in order to obtain a maximum ‘hand effect,'” 3Dpad creator Jean-Noël explained.

“[Meanwhile], the capacitors formed by the electrodes are part of an oscillator whose frequency is influenced by the distance of a hand. When it enters the electrostatic field, this ‘intruder’ is going to cut the field lines and divert the electrical charges. The closer the hand approaches the electrodes, the more the oscillator’s frequency increases.”

According to Jean-Noël, the system employs a phase/frequency comparator along with a control and locking program.

“This simple system makes the conversion of the very small frequency shift into a variation in a voltage signal which is easy to use,” he said.

On the software side, an embedded software (sketch) running on the Atmel-based Arduino Uno is tasked with calculating 3D coordinates, recognizing basic gestures (swipes, push and rotations) and relaying the data to a host device on the USB COM Port.

“The evaluation software (PC) will enable you to quickly evaluate the 3D-Pad. You’ll see all the values sent by the Arduino Uno (1), the gesture events (2) and the 3D coordinates in the form of a cursor (3),” he added.

As Jean-Noël notes, 3Dpad is only the starting point for Ootsidebox, as the company is currently working on a number of HMI related projects, including touchless & gesture interfaces, telehaptics, wearable tech and even artificial intelligence (AI).

Interested in learning more about the 3Dpad? You can check out the project’s official page here.