A touch pad for controlling electronic equipment includes a deformable touch surface and a compressible pad body in contact with the touch surface. The compressible body is formed from a material which scatters or diffuses light within the material. Multiple sources of light or other wave energy are directed into the interior of the substrate to form multiple illuminated cells inside the pad body. Each illuminated cell forms an integrated cavity within the pad body. A detector in communication with the compressible material detects light intensity within the integrated cavity. A processor receives signals from the detector and converts the signals into useable information relating to the position of regions of compression of the pad.