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Touch table

I build this projection / touch table for a while now, never got a chance to write about it until now. I got this idea last year and in the time I need a working table for myself so I think : why don’t I just build one for both working and projection ? The idea is simple : Just make the top of the table removable and keep the width / height ratio to 16 : 9 which is the aspect ratio of my projector.

touch01

 

Building the table

For the frames I got some pieces of wood left from my ikea shelves and found a big and thick piece of wood in my backyard which is perfect for the top. It took me about 2 days to build and I don’t have proper tool for this, it will be much faster with the right tool. And of course the quality will be much better too 😀
touch02

Projection and Touch

When I want to project I just remove the top and cover with a sheet.  The way that the touch works is that I put a Kinect under the table and facing straight up. So when I press on the sheet the Kinect can capture the depth difference of the press point. It’s not a complicate concept but just a lot of tweaking and calibre, e.g find the right distance range to detect, ignore the frames, noise reduction … etc. However there’s one thing does matter a lot, which is the sheet. I was using the bed sheet, it works but it’s not very flexible so when you press you also pull down quite a big area, therefore it’s not very accurate. Then later I found a really flexible piece of cloth that when you press it can create a small point which is perfect for position detection.

touch03

And then the next just use this point as a virtual mouse. Theoretically it could detect multitouch as long as the sheet can shows different points you press, but also need an algorithm to find all the different points. I haven’t tried openCV yet, maybe there’s some thing to use.

 

Summary

It’s a simple and silly idea, also the table is really shaky, but I really enjoy it.  I especially like the touch feeling, it’s very satisfying. And also building the table itself is a lot of fun too, I really enjoy building real stuff that I can actually touch it, it’s very different from code but both very interesting to me.


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