Quick sidenote on another project I’m working on. Another collaboration with multitouch-hard- and software wizzard Johannes Luderschmidt, which is an interactive case-scenario tool for the police of the state of Hessen in Germany called Vispol. It was originally concepted and developed as a masterstudy by Johannes but is now a full-grown software for instant use on multitouch able surfaces. I created the design concept for this has-to-be-very-functional software and developed all the designs. And yes, it’s all circles again. Believe me, it was the best suitable form for this use.
What you can see now is a movie about Vispol 1.0, but we’re already working on a design update, which will feature a much better contrast and signal colours. You can see all details about it on our collaborative website www.visactible.com.
The set up for the Central Saint Martins Final MA Show startet at 8am sharp at the Mall Galleries. Within 2 days the whole show was set up. Our multitouch-able table with the Digital Volvelles interface had to face some problems with the gallery lighting, which was interfering with our LED-sensorial movement tracking of the table. It took a lot of attempts, patience, and staying power until we realized that also the reflecting light off the white gallery walls was interfering with the multitouch-table. The light temperature of the bulbs was too warm. The touchscreen functioned without any problems in a brightly lit room where ‘cold’ artificial neonlight was used. Again, a new thing we learned, even on the spot of an exhibition. Johannes might now turn to laserlight for table version 2.0.
Setting up the table and the interface:
The empty gallery space in the beginning of the set up:
I’ve been able to get hold of an old frame made of perforated metal plates. I reassembled the parts in a way that I’ve got a frame for my multi-touch display. Currently it has the table form factor but it can easily be readjusted to be a console or even a panel.
The multi-touch display itself is made of an acrylic glass plate in which infrared light is being emitted from the sides by 24 infrared leds. Thus the light is being endlessly reflected internally in the plate. If a finger is touching the plate the optical effect of light frustration will take place that effects light to be emitted vertically on the frustration place (the point where your finger tip is touching the display). Onto the back of the display where a back projection foil is mounted an image is projected by a video beamer (a Panasonic PT-AX200E). The display is being scanned by a webcam with a removed infrared light filter (a Philips SPC900NC with this lens). A Mac Mini is producing the image that is projected by the beamer onto the display and is doing touch calculations with the help of Touchlib.
Here are some pictures from the current state of it:
Me, Johannes, and Niqui spent a few very productive days in Brighton to put up and test the multi-touch function of a wheel prototype. This video shows the working trial set up with a beamer, a laptop, a WII-Remote Control and funky looking selfmade infrared-pens.
I’ve written in a previous post that there is the idea of a standardised technique to connect multi-touch hardware to multi-touch software via TUIO. As we want to concentrate on Flash as visualisation and interaction layer for our digital volvelles I will present a Flash AS3 API for multi-touch with TUIO in this and further posts.
The touchlib project from the NUI Group is a collection of software tools for the realisation of a multi-touch table. It provides tools like digital image processing for the tracking of fingers on a multi-touch screen, a TUIO server and so on. It additionally provides a Flash AS3 library in order to process TUIO messages inside of Flash and to provide standard interface elements e.g. sliders.
All Flash applications that are being built with touchlib’s AS3 library can not only be used with a TUIO enabled multi-touch device but also with a mouse. This offers advantages in the development process as you do not (necessarily) need a multi-touch device in order to use your application. This will be very useful if more than one person are involved in the development process (as in our case a designer, a Flash developer and a hardware developer are involved) because everyone can get a feeling for the interaction with the application without the need for a colocated multi-touch device.
The touchlib project including the mentioned AS3 library can be downloaded here. The AS3 library with demo applications can be found in the following folder within the zip file: touchlib -> AS3 -> src.
For some videos of our Flash multi-touch applications also see: