Camera Uses Shoes for User Detection on Multi-touch Displays

German researchers have developed a new method of detecting users on a multi-touch display: just look at their shoes!

Known as Bootstrapper and developed at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germary; head of computer science Patrick Baudisch and grad students Christian Holz and Stephan Richter developed the system to counter the problem of figuring out who's who when several people access a touch panel at once.

Traditionally it's been impossible to apply custom preferences or settings to a multi-touch display, as the screen isn't able to detect who's pressing what and where. Now, using - what else - a Microsoft Kinect motion tracking camera, the Bootstrapper system can look at a person's shoes and recognise them as an individual user. From there it's merely a case of using their position to correlate settings to their touch inputs.

Researchers have said that shoes are a great choice for tracking users as they are quite unique. They feature varied colours, patterns and shapes, as well as wear and tear - though the latter is harder to detect.

It does make you wonder though; how well the system would work if people wore different sets of shoes, or perhaps leaned over the display and touched the other side.

Here's a video of it in action: