Microsoft develops prototype of capacitive mat with NFC support

Microsoft has developed a mat under the name Project Zanzibar. It is touch-sensitive and can be used via nfc in combination with various objects. For example, Microsoft sees applications for children and in learning environments.

The company from Redmond writes that the mat, which is still a prototype, is flexible and portable and that all of the detection of touches and their processing take place in the mat itself. The prototype communicates with other devices via bluetooth and usb. For example, a screen can be connected to which objects on the mat can be displayed in a virtual scene. In a paper that Microsoft wants to present shortly, it writes that object tracking is possible with the help of nfc and the capacitive properties of the mat.
In addition, it is possible to record movements that occur up to 3 cm above the mat. For example, a user can swipe or draw shapes. The team behind Project Zanzibar has created several reference designs for hardware that can be used together with the mat.
Microsoft mentions a number of applications in his paper. For example, it calls the possibility of a kind of movie maker by placing figures on the mat, which are then rendered on a screen. Then, for example, a user can place a camera and light sources on the mat in order to capture and illuminate the virtual scene. In addition, Microsoft mentions the example of ‘ar tower defense’, a game in which the player simultaneously uses the HoloLens to place towers and defeat enemies. In addition, applications in learning environments are conceivable, such as learning programming on the basis of physical blocks.