Pressure Sensitive Floor

Knowledge and visualization of detailed pressure information can play a vital role in multimodal sensing of human movement. We have designed a high-resolution pressure sensing floor with a sensor density of one sensor per square centimeter that can provide real-time infomration about the location of the performer on the floor as well as the amount of pressure being exerted on the floor. Hardware and software have been developed for detecting, collecting, transmitting and redering a graphical representation of the pressure data gathered from the sensors. This floor can be easily reconfigured to cover large floor areas, and will integrate closely with video, audio and motion-based sensing technologies to facilitate robust multimodal sensing.

Project Leads: David Birchfield, Assegid Kidané, Gang Qian

Design and Implementation

Current System

The current sensor features a 4 X 2 matrix of tekscan sensors with custom circuitry for data acquisition and transmission. This floor detects 8-bit pressure data with 10mm spatial resolution at a data rate of 33Hz. Embedded ethernet delivers data to a host computer with custom software for display, storage, and analysis. We are currently evaluating the performance of this implementation before final revision and realization of a 10 X 10 sensor matrix covering over 20 square feet.

video clip of pressure sensing floor with real time motion capture in a dance applications. click to view video (requires Quicktime player)

video clip of data captured from single pressure mat. click to view video (requires Quicktime player)

click to view high resolution images

Concurrently we are working with AME information modeling and fusion groups to integrate real time sensing data from the floor with marker-based and video-based motion analysis systems. Integration of multiple sensing systems will yield robust and efficient multimodal sensing.

Development Archive

Floor Prototype 1: (link) In the fall of 2003, we built a first 4'X4' prototype of the pressure sensitive floor. This prototype incorporated Interlink sensors and utilized serial communication to visualize the outputs of the sensor in the Max/MSP programming environment. Though functional and robust, significant design and implementation revisions have been incorporated into the current system. Click here to learn more about the first prototype of the floor

Force Sensing Resistors, Survey/Evaluation: (link) In order to assess the availability and suitability of existing pressure sensors, we researched readily available FSR's. We evaluated them in terms of their performance, reliability and price.


P. Srinivasan, D. Birchfield, G. Qian, A. Kidané, A Pressure Sensing Floor for Interactive Media Applications, Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE), Valencia, Spain, 2005

P. Srinivasan, G. Qian, D. Birchfield, A. Kidané, Design of a Pressure Sensitive Floor for Multimodal Sensing, Proceedings of the International Conference on Non-visual & Multimodal Visualization, London, UK, July 4, 2005

A. Kidané, Floor Report. AME Technical Report, 2004.

A. Kidané, Rodriguez, Cifdaloz, Harikrishnan, ISAFloor: a high resolution floor sensor with 3D visualization and multimedia interface capability. AME Technical Report, 2003.

David Birchfield, Assistant Professor (AME)
Jodi James, Lecturer (AME)
Assegid Kidané, Engineer
David Lorig, Senior Technical Director
Kelly Phillips, Senior Technical Director
Gang Qian, Assistant Professor (AME/EE)
Armando Rodriguez, Associate Professor (EE)

Prashant Srinivasan, Graduate Research Assistant (EE)

We are grateful to the following organizations for their generous support of our work