Figure 1: CapStones are tangible blocks that allow the underlying capacitive touch screen to identify blocks and to sense how they are arranged in 3D.
Recent research proposes augmenting capacitive touch pads with tangible objects, enabling a new generation of mobile applications enhanced with tangible objects, such as game pieces and tangible controllers. In this paper, we extend the concept to capacitive tangibles consisting of multiple parts, such as stackable gaming pieces and tangible widgets with moving parts. We achieve this using a system of wires and connectors inside each block that causes the capacitance of the bottom-most block to reflect the entire assembly. We demonstrate three types of tangibles, called CapStones, Zebra Dials and Zebra Sliders that work with current consumer hardware and investigate what designs may become possible as touchscreen hardware evolves.