RENCI Vis Group Multi-Touch Blog

Developing multitouch hardware and applications for research and experimentation.

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RENCI Multi-Touch Table Development - Part 1

12 November, 2008 (16:24) | Multi-Touch


The RENCI Multi-Touch Table is a portable multi-user, multi-touch device for user interface and visualization research.  Through an architecture of commodity-level components and custom software, this high-resolution interactive display provides an effective means for collaborators to directly interact with their data and associated external applications and peripherals. Future work will improve the table’s usability and expand the use of multi-touch technologies through more sophisticated gesture recognition, native integration with operating systems, and a continually increasing base of touch-enabled applications and APIs.

This development builds on our experience with the Duke Multi-Touch Wall at the Duke RENCI Center. However, the table had several different requirement, the most important of which was portability. This table is designed to be broken down and moved from room to room (through a 32″ doorway), or transported for use in a different building.

Specifications of Completed Table

  • 62″ diagonal work surface (42″ x 46″), 40″ tall
  • 2X HD resolution rear-projection display (1920 x 2160 pixels)
  • 1200 x 1200 touch resolution from a single GigE IR camera at 30 frames/second
  • System driven by a 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon processor

The Build

Like the Duke wall, this table uses Direct Illumination (DI) for touch detection…

Direct Illumination (DI)

Direct Illumination (DI)

The physical setup was developed and designed using SolidWorks and constructed using 80/20 framing, which allowed us to adjust the component positions. As we did with the Duke wall, we used the frustrums of the two HD projectors to determine the basic form factor. However, in this case, we also use mirrors in the base pan to compress the total envelope of the unit.

Early SolidWorks model of the Multi-Touch Table.

Early SolidWorks model of the Multi-Touch Table.

The touch surface screen measures 46″ x 42″ (approx. 62-1/2″ diagonal). This seemed to be a good size for 4-6 users to gather around the table comfortably. Because it had to be moveable, we also had to account for the height of the wheels and ground clearance required to clear door thresholds. The final height ended up being about 41″, which is a little high for some shorter users, so we have 6″ risers that can be used if necessary. Future units might sacrifice image size to bring this hight down, but for this one, we wanted to take advantage of the 2 HD Epson projectors.

Early SolidWorks model of the Multi-Touch Table.

Early SolidWorks model of the Multi-Touch Table.

On to Part 2…

« Duke Multi-Touch Wall Development - System

 RENCI Multi-Touch Table Development - Part 2 »

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