In the course of his Master thesis at the Hochschule RheinMain, Tim Hofmann researched the possibilities of collaborative gestures on tabletop user interfaces. I supervised his thesis and am really impressed what Tim has created.
At the Hochschule RheinMain, we experiment with tangible user interfaces (TUI) a lot. We are especially interested in improving the authoring process of TUIs. On one hand of the creation process is the software issue how the interaction and the user interfaces can be designed and developed. However, on the other hand, there stands the problem, how the actual physical tangible objects have to look like and how they can be created.
The TwinTable is a multi-touch tabletop system that Simon Lehmann and I have built at the RheinMain University. After my previous table, the Virttable, we wanted to go for something bigger and with Full HD. Furthermore, our goal was a table that could be used in a living environment. Therefore, we have chosen a height of 50 cm, which is roughly the same height as a coffee table. This allows us to integrate the TwinTable into our laboratory’s lounge suite.
The second multi-touch table, that I have built is called The Virttable, which stands for Versatile Illumination Research Touch Table.
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:
- a Panasonic PT AX 200 projector
a Unibrain Fire-i Firewire camera
- a Pointgrey Firefly MV firewire (mono version) camera
- a B+W infrared filter 092 (low-pass, lets transmit 90% of infrared light above 730 nm)
lots of Osram SFH 485P infrared LEDs
- 162 Osram SFH 4550 infrared LEDs for FTIR illumination Their min. radiant intensity is 400 mW/sr at 100mA while the min. radiant intensity of a SFH 485P LED is 4.5 mW/Sr at 100mA. Taken the LED’s half angles into consideration (3 for the SFH 4550 resp. 40 for the SFH 485P) this means that the SFH 4550 has around 6.5 times more light than the SFH 485P.
- Six high power infrared LEDs with 4 led’s on one dye (Aculed VHL IR 4-chip High Power LEDs) for Diffuse Illumination
two panes of acrylic glass(I burned the surface of the second pane, a Plexiglass EndLighten pane, while trying to apply a Lexel/Toluene dilution on top of it)
- A standard acrylic glass
- MDF boards for the box
The computer that I have used in the Virttable is my Mac Mini.