Ideum’s 86 inch multi-touch table explores the electromagnetic spectrum
By Paul Lester
November 2, 2009
The release of Windows 7 has seen a surge in the number of multi-touch all-in-one desktops, laptops and monitors hitting the shelves, but perhaps the real potential in this technology is in touch-sensitive tables. Some may remember Microsoft’s Surface display, and innovative designs like the ROSIE coffee table. Ideum’s ultra-wide alternative takes a slightly different approach though, as it is able to create digital representations of images across the electromagnetic spectrum.
Based on its MT-50 commercially available table, the 100” (86” viewable) design makes it one of the largest contiguous tables yet built, with a 16:5 aspect ratio and 2304x800 pixel resolution. It has been developed for the Space Chase Gallery at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee, which features a range of celestial and terrestrial objects in varied wavelengths. With over 50 simultaneous touch points, several people can interact at once and a haptic tempered glass and aluminum and steel construction offers plenty of durability.
"Taking advantage of the super-wide screen format, we've created a digital representation of the EM Spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays.” said Jim Spadaccini, Creative Director of Ideum. “Visitors can move images across the table in real-time, revealing the images in each waveform and accessing information about what they are seeing.”
Ideum’s GestureWorks custom software, which was used to design the interface, will allow Flash developers to create their own custom multi-touch applications when it becomes available in early December. In the meantime you can get your hands on the table from the 7th of November when the exhibition opens.
And the hardware? Two Intel I7s with six gigs of triple channel DDR RAM split the load. One processes the four cameras and does the tracking, the other computer consumes runs the program and powers the two projectors.