Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss
© http://www.eculturefactory.de/CMS/index.php?id=367 ; Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss

(collective) Monika Fleischmann | Wolfgang Strauss

PointScreen ,
Co-workers & Funding
Management and Concept: Wolfgang Strauss and Monika Fleischmann
PointScreen Team: Yinlin Li (Senior Scientist, algorithm and microprocessor design), Christoph Groenegress (interface design), Predrag Peranovic (technical management), Jens Muuss (antenna design), Harald Gress (PCB), Bernd Kolbeck (human-machine communication), Rainer Liesendahl (media integration), Matthias Krauss (3D control).

US Patent
Fleischmann, Monika; Strauss, Wolfgang; Li, Yinlin; Groenegress, Christoph: "Gesture-based input device for a user interface of a computer", United States Patent 7,312,788 B2, December 25, 2007.
Gesture input whiteboard, technology similar to Theremin electrostatic device. Hardware/software patent on an electrostatic/capacitive contactless digitizer, similar in principle to a theremin, for capturing gestures in the air, capacitive sensing. Requires use on a ground or reference pad.
  • PoinScreen 2005
    2362 × 2159
  • PS-IAA Frankfurt
    720 × 576
  • EFS Video
    352 × 288
  • PS Video
    352 × 288
  • MARS Bag Performance
    352 × 286
  • MARS Bags
    1160 × 950
  • Dance Floor
    422 × 506
  • Analog Theremin
    311 × 202
  • EFS Maus Biene
    463 × 378
  • MARS Bag
    1843 × 1229
  • Energy Meter 1998
    900 × 722
  • PointScreen für VW: IAA Frankfurt
    720 × 576
  • PS 3D Monitor
    480 × 360

PointScreen is an interface for touchless control of a screen. Inspired by the Theremin, the first electric musical instrument that can be played without touch, we have developed a digital technology for Electro Field Sensing. The position, direction of movement and speed of hand gestures can be used for navigation. The body's own electrostatic field is sensed by Electro Field Sensing and the determined position data is used for screen control. Along the way, experimental objects were created such as the Energy Meter (1997), a light box with colorful light bulbs, the red, yellow and blue light up depending on the physical condition of the viewer with varying intensity or even fall off. The weaker the body's electrical capacity is, the less the light is lit or even only flickers.
The electric, peeping MARS bags (1998) were designed for a performance. Peter Weibel comments on the MARS bags as anti-theft art object. The MARS table, a sensor-controlled sounding plateau leads to a crawling race of several babies whose mothers had dropped them off there. Used as a dancefloor, dancers create spherical sounds as they move.
These experiments were done with a simplified homemade analog circuit similar to the Theremin. We made the schematic available to the community for download so that more such interesting projects could be created. A first usable interface is the info jukebox, a digital kiosk system that enables contactless access to multimedia content. It shows a selection of video clips on individual projects of the Fraunhofer IAIS - MARS Exploratory Media Lab. The info juke box was also used to display the Digitals sparks award winners at Ars Electronica 2003.

But it became clear that to achieve the desired goal of a touchless controllable computer screen, we would have to develop a digital circuit in the form of a microcontroller. In 2002, the time had come. We were able to sell the touchless PointScreen, which proved to be the display of the future for VW, at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt with 100,000 visitors. Our vision of the touchless interface dates back to 1997, and the PointScreen interface was finally patented in 2007.

The Electric Field Sensor System (EFS) research and development originated in the I3-Intelligent Information Interface Programme of the EU in the project eRENA- Electronic Arenas for Culture, Performance, Art and Entertainment.
The MARS bag live performance was held on 27.11.1998 at the Cyber Star Award Ceremony held at the broadcaster WDR in Cologne.
The first professional PointScreen presentation took place at the VW booth at the IAA Frankfurt (International Motor Show) 2005, PointScreen passed the mass test by a professional, international audience.
  • aesthetics
    • acoustic
    • affective
    • experimental
    • illusionary
    • interactive
    • navigable
    • performative
    • real-time
    • tactile
  • genres
    • bioart
    • performance art
  • subjects
    • Art and Science
      • dynamical systems
    • Body and Psychology
    • Magic and Phantastic
    • Technology and Innovation
  • technology
    • displays
      • electronic displays
    • interfaces
      • automatic identification and data capture (AIDC)
      • biological sensors
      • body sensors
      • interactive media
Technology & Material
Using an array of electrodes, the system generates a weak electric field that reacts to the capacitance of the user. Body movement, e.g. by arm or hand, results in a change of the electric field, which in turn is measured and analyzed ignorer to measure the proximity to each of the electrodes; the exact position of the arm or hand can then be computed using standard approximation techniques. An Algorithm allows it to use the system without prior calibration.Users can therefore control the cursor on the screen by simple pointing gestures. Objects can be selected by e.g. pointing at the same object for a second.
The technology is largely built on two areas: the hardware developed is based on high sensitive electric field sensor (RFS) and an array of antennas. The software was designed and implemented to analyze the user interaction via the senser array and estimate the arm position from it in order to enable browsing and selection.This includes an algorithm for adaptive relative references which compensates for omitted calibration step.