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June 13, 2007 1:47 PM   Subscribe

We've all seen the multitouch interfaces of Jeff Han, Apple, Tactiva, and Microsoft. Now, fellow mefite you brings us the ultimate guerrilla hack - the $2 multitouch pad. [via mefi projects]
posted by Pastabagel (28 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't think the glass table (or the camera) cost less then $2.

Skill kind of cool, though. But part of what people want is to be able to touch displays.
posted by delmoi at 1:51 PM on June 13, 2007


That is very cool. Very cool.

But what the hell is a "guerilla hack"??
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:55 PM on June 13, 2007


this blog previously posted the smackbook.
posted by phaedon at 1:59 PM on June 13, 2007


*boggles*

Frickin'. Genius.

Now I want to rig something like this up so I can use actual paintbrushes as input devices for my art apps. I don't mind if it's not right on the monitor, I've been drawing on a standard Wacom tablet for over a decade.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:05 PM on June 13, 2007


This is pretty neat. But it's not exactly revolutionary. I've seen similar work done with a webcam and a projector - by tracking the shadows on a screen, a user can bounce balls around, etc.

Not quite the same as actually touching and interacting with a display itself.

But this really is an ingenious implementation. I wish I was smart enough to put something like this together!
posted by aladfar at 2:06 PM on June 13, 2007


By these definitions, the Microsoft table is effectively free, since it's just two webcams, some polarized glass (apparently the camera cost can be dismissed, as can the glass table)... oh, and the software to process the interfaces.

Oh wait- yeah, the software was the difficult part all along!!! Webcams have had motion/hand sensor software for some time, and what we're seeing here is a single-touch sensor, not a multitouch display. The guy's simply built a Wacom tablet out of a plastic bag, blue dye, and a webcam. It's not even unified with the display, which is what the other interfaces have in common.

I mean, extending a multi-touch interface to understand and distinguish N concurrent points of interaction- along with updating the OS GUI to understand seamlessly the multiple interfaces and integrate that into its applications- well that my friend costs a lot more than $2 to do.
posted by hincandenza at 2:11 PM on June 13, 2007


hincandenza - can you explain how a single-touch display did his "pan/rotate/zoom" thing at the end?
posted by muddgirl at 2:16 PM on June 13, 2007


And can someone please tell me why we are putting the iPhone in with this category of equipment? It's glorified Treo touch screen for crying out loud.
posted by Muddler at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2007


And can someone please tell me why we are putting the iPhone in with this category of equipment? It's glorified Treo touch screen for crying out loud.

Er, except for the iPhone does multitouch, just like all other other items listed above, whereas the Treo does not?
posted by Inkoate at 2:46 PM on June 13, 2007


Is this the same you as in 2006 Time Magazine's Person of the Year?
posted by yeti at 2:48 PM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


"It's glorified Treo touch screen for crying out loud."

Respectfully disagree. The iPhone seems to be quite a bit more complex and functional. The Treo is the same single-touch screen as any old PDA from the last 5 years, isn't it?

"(apparently the camera cost can be dismissed, as can the glass table)"

If you already own these items and have used them for other things, you can effectively dismiss their cost on this project (especially if you already wrote them off on last year's taxes). I already have a couple of webcams and a glass-top table which would work fine, for instance.

You're right about the software, of course. This guy isn't counting his hours programming, which are generally quite expensive!
posted by zoogleplex at 2:54 PM on June 13, 2007


There's a lot of information left out of the blog entry. Which software is being used?

I'd love to used this technique to control MIDI CC data.
posted by lekvar at 2:55 PM on June 13, 2007


Now that's very clever. Completely impractical, but clever. FTIR screens are, of course, rather more robust (read: expensive). Now what I want is a generalized, extensible app framework for handling the UI part of this, so everybody isn't coding their own multitouch handlers.
posted by Skorgu at 2:58 PM on June 13, 2007


If you're interested in spending more than $2, trackIR gear is very cheap and VERY good.

120fps Infrared, with full software to do decoding. It's fantastic (just don't have an incandescent bulb behind you).
posted by effugas at 3:00 PM on June 13, 2007


Anybody know what the music from the demo is?
posted by Skorgu at 3:00 PM on June 13, 2007


I remember someone at the MIT Media Lab doing something like this back in the late 90s, only with soy sauce as the liquid. Very clever hack.
posted by Nelson at 3:37 PM on June 13, 2007


hincandenza writes "well that my friend costs a lot more than $2 to do."

Yes but to some the cost of the additional $100 (?) to buy the product is greater than the revenue-cost of developing the application and hardware ; that seems odd only if you don't consider the capitalization of experience, which may have a value or generate a revenue stream for the hax0r.

For ordinary users it only shows how horribily overpriced most devices are, considering how much the real developers are paid.
posted by elpapacito at 3:50 PM on June 13, 2007


There's a lot of information left out of the blog entry. Which software is being used?

There's more info in this comment (including the music choice).
posted by bluefly at 4:15 PM on June 13, 2007


dude come up with a cheap, novel way (MIT soy sauce aside) way to to an incredible gee whiz thing, and most of you are all "CLEARLY MORE THAN $2 WAS SPENT HERE." Honestly.
posted by boo_radley at 4:18 PM on June 13, 2007


boo_radley writes "CLEARLY MORE THAN $2 WAS SPENT HERE"

Hell yeah ! Cleaning bathroom, consider the following : the real costs are water ($0.0001) and a broom ($5/year?).

Don't you consider the time spent doing the cleaning ? If not, please send me a mail with your time schedule and avaiabilty, you are hired !
posted by elpapacito at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2007


I think the real issue is that this isn't very novel at all. I thought before I clicked the link he'd be using a camera. This sort of image processing has been done many times before.
posted by polyhedron at 4:56 PM on June 13, 2007


It's still cool, though. Didn't mean to come across an ass. But it's not $2 and I'd be surprised to hear this was invented without seeing how some other camera based multitouch displays worked.
posted by polyhedron at 4:57 PM on June 13, 2007


Actually, now that I think of it, this is the perfect solution for implementing an XY MIDI conroller using this softeware. I've been struggling to make it useable for a while now, and I think this is exactly what I've been needing. Thanks, Pastabagel and you!
posted by lekvar at 5:18 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Er, except for the iPhone does multitouch, just like all other other items listed above, whereas the Treo does not?

We've yet to actually see any iPhone in person, now haven't we - and when we do, all that is promised is some basic touch functionality that may be pressure sensitive. If we're lucky, it will allow for two fingers to do something at the same time. Very little of the exciting multi-touch technology is workable on a screen size as small as the iPhone, and frankly the hard part and interesting part of multi-touch is the software that allows you do the very interesting applications - none of which will really work on that small of a screen.

So, I ask again, why do people put the iPhone, which truly is just a step above a Treo touch screen in terms of usability, in with these much larger, much more dynamic, and very different larger units?

It is on par with matching up the technology in a Treo with the highest end multi-core desktops and saying "hey, look, they are the same." Actually, no they are not, and should not be considered in the same categories.
posted by Muddler at 5:29 PM on June 13, 2007


So, I ask again, why do people put the iPhone, which truly is just a step above a Treo touch screen in terms of usability,

Because you have no physical evidence for your counterclaims, and people will believe anything they see in a commercial?
posted by phaedon at 5:53 PM on June 13, 2007


I <3 my a href="http://fingerworks.com/">touchstream lp.
posted by Jerub at 6:50 PM on June 13, 2007


I <3 the &lt; html escape.
posted by blasdelf at 2:35 AM on June 14, 2007


The soy sauce haptic interface.
posted by nonane at 6:08 AM on June 14, 2007


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