A Clever Hack Kinda-Sorta Brings 3D Touch to Android

Apple’s neat 3D Touch tricks rely on a touchscreen that has integrated pressure sensors to determine between a ‘peek’ and a ‘pop’. But give a cunning Android hacker a waterproof phone and a barometer, and you can get a similar sort of effect.


In a proof-of-concept video posted to YouTube, developer Marco Chiappetta shows how the barometer in the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact can be hacked to produce some kind of pressure sensitivity. Because the Z3 Compact has seals over the ports to make it waterproof, it’s kinda airtight. So, when you push on the screen, there’s an increase in the internal air pressure of the phone, measurable with the barometer.

It’s not a perfect or particularly accurate reading, but the video demonstrates how it’s good enough to zoom in and out on an image, or drag it around. More to the point, it’s a fun reminder of everything that can be done with the multitude of sensors in phones, given enough creativity. And hey, maybe iPhone owners won’t get to hog all the Force Touch fun after all.

[YouTube via Reddit]



Uhh... I could easily do a halfway functional version of this with just about any touchscreen phone. In fact I did, as part of an openGL drag and drop test I wrote pre G1 release. When you press on any standard touch screen with increasing pressure, first a larger portion of your finger contacts the screen, then the skin at the end squishes slightly, increasing the diameter of the touch area even further. All you need to do is check for the change in diameter over the course of a short period of time after the touch down event.

I’m really getting sick of all these poorly disguised commercials on Gizmodo, masquerading as “news”. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, and I hope this site dies soon, because it’s neared the end of it’s useful life.