Multi-Touch Visualization

Nice one: Microsoft SecondLight

Somhow I must have missed this one: Microsoft published SecondLight.

This is a system that is able to project a second image through the tabletop of a multi-touch screen onto a sheet of paper or whatever you want to use. But take a look at this video:

Actually, this is great. Anyway, I would not know what applications could use SecondLight except the obvious magic lens applications. Thus, I embrace following cite from the according SecondLight engagdet post:
Like the Surface, practical applications for this seem somewhat limited — but since when have you cared about practicality?

Actionscript Adobe Air Flash flex

Figure out if you are using AS3 code in an Adobe Air application

I use my code in both an Adobe Flex and in an Adobe Air application. As I want to use the native menus of Adobe Air I want to prevent that my self-built menu is being added to the Air application. Thus, I need to figure out if the code is running in a Flex or in an Air application. I do this by using the following structure:

var airApp:Boolean = false;
if(NativeApplication.nativeApplication) airApp = true;


How to build a LLP (Laser Light Plane) multi-touch table

Georg Kaindl the developer of the Open Source multi-touch tracking software for OS X Touché has published a blog post about how a laser light multi-touch setup can be build on your own.

He has also published a video in which he presents how the laser light multi-touch table works:

DIY laser multi-touch table – Raw camera feed from Georg Kaindl on Vimeo.

Update: Some more links:
Nuigroup LLP Wiki page
Alex P’s initial LLP setup at the nuigroup

Flash Hochschule RheinMain Visualization

Wivi: Wikipedia Visualization

Simon Lehmann, a fellow student of mine from the visualization classes of the Computer Sciences department at the Wiesbaden University of Applied Sciences, has created the very nice Wikipedia visualization Wivi in the work of his Diploma thesis:

Screenshot of Wivi
Screenshot of Wivi
Hochschule RheinMain Multi-Touch Tangible Interfaces

Building process of the DIY Multi-Touch and Tangible User Interface Table The Virttable

Virttable Raw
Watch photo set on Flickr.

Announcement Hochschule RheinMain Multi-Touch

The Virttable at iTec ’08 [Update]

We are proudly announcing that the Virttable will feature at an IT exhibition called iTec ’08 at the darmstadtium in Darmstadt, Germany on 6 and 7 November.

This is a small version of the poster with which we will present features of the Virttable at iTec ’08:

Multi-touch table The Virttable poster
Multi-touch table The Virttable poster

Many thanks to Melanie Seyer, who designed the poster for me!

Update: Two photographs from our booth at the iTEC:

Virttable booth at iTEC \'08
Virttable booth at iTEC '08

Johannes Luderschmidt and the Virttable booth at iTEC \'08
Johannes Luderschmidt and the Virttable booth at iTEC '08

Hochschule RheinMain Multi-Touch Portfolio Projection Tabletop Systems tracking

The Multi-Touch Table Virttable [Update]

The second multi-touch table, that I have built is called The Virttable, which stands for Versatile Illumination Research Touch Table.

CAD Drawing of the Virttable

This table is the property of the department for Design, Computer Science and Media (DCSM) of the Wiesbaden University of Applied Sciences, which provided me with the money for the components of the Virttable. (Actually, we had student fees for a short time in Hessen/Germany. From a part of these student fees the Virttable has been built. Thank you, dear students!!! There’s no cent of public money in the Virttable.) Amongst others those parts include:

The computer that I have used in the Virttable is my Mac Mini.


Configure Pointgrey Firefly MX camera in a multi-touch setup [Update]

I’ve found many instructions in the nuigroup forum on how to configure the Pointgrey Firefly MV Firewire camera in a multi-touch setup and especially with the Touchlib.

As information about this topic is widely scattered, I want to write down some helpful steps on how to configure the Firefly in this post.

Pointgrey Firefly MV with Tamron zoom lens mounted with tripod bracket
Pointgrey Firefly MV with Tamron zoom lens mounted with tripod bracket
Actionscript Flash

Save XML and text files from Flash to your HD with AS3 and PHP

In this post I’ll show how to save a file from AS3 to your local HD. In another post I’ve explained how to load a file from HD to Flash.

For a project I’ve been looking around for a decent solution to the problem of saving a text file (to be more precise XML file) from Actionscript 3 to my local harddisc but i couldn’t find a solution for this (what not necessarily means that there is none).

Saving and loading can be smoothly achieved with Adobe Air but not with Flash because Flash has been designed to run on the web. However, it is possible to download and upload files via AS3 on and from your HD to and from a webserver. Think of an Flash MP3 shop: You can click on an MP3 in Flash and you will be asked where to save the file and afterwards the file is being downloaded to the chosen location on your HD. So it must be somehow possible.

Additionally, it is possible to create XML or other text in Flash and store it on a webserver and vice versa.

Thus I came upon following solution:

Howto save and load text files with AS3
Figure 1: Howto save and load text files with AS3


Multi-touch in HCI: Bill Buxton

Bill Buxton is the absolute expert for touch-related human computer interaction research. Bill Buxton’s impressive amount of publications has started around 30 years ago and have never ceased since then. Among other things he is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft and participates in the Microsoft Surface research.

I especially like his research work about two-handed input as it tells a lot about how two-handed input could be employed in multi-touch setups. It is simple to make applications that use two hands but it is difficult not to overstrain the user. Thus, I endorse his theory about compound tasks that apply natural tasks to each hand: E.g. when you are right-handed and you are writing a text on a sheet of paper you will use your left hand to hold the paper in place and move the paper in a way that your right hand is only writing in one region. Hence, the left hand performs gradual tasks while the right hand is doing the precise and high-frequent work. With other words, for two-handed input in multi-touch you could choose tasks (for right-handed people) that give the left hand a helper function and give the right hand a fine-tune task.

However, what I actually wanted to do in this post was to set a link to Bill Buxton’s multi-touch page.