The more expensive option billed as a fully fledged “multi-touch game machine.”
Founded upon open source plans for optical touch tables, the designers of the Playsurface hope to develop a versatile touchscreen table-top suitable for a variety of “blazingly fast” applications (yes, including gaming) supporting multpiple users. Though purely an input and display device, the table can be had with an integrated PC as an extra. If the project goes ahead (funding is currently sought through Kickstarter), its designers claim it would be as easy to assemble as Ikea furniture. It’s not a bad comparison: the flat-packed, affordable Playsurface is a product that its makers at Templeman Automation hope will close the disconnect between the popularity and availability of table-top touchscreens.
The Playsurface’s touch surface is not a touch-screen, as such. Instead it is a transparent plastic surface with a special layer applied, onto which a mirror reflects an image from a short-throw projector housed within the unit. Touch detection is handled optically, with sensors working with infrared sources within the table to pick up shadows created by user touches. It’s a relatively low-cost technology growing in popularity, and is well suited to larger touchscreens.
Crucial to the promise of responsive performance is the ability of the peripheral to remove the burden of touch detection and tracking from the connected computer, which could otherwise compromise computer performance. “The problem we found with giving out tables like the prototypes we had was that every program was tricky in its own way to get touch events to work smoothly,” Michael White, CEO/CTO of Templeman Automation told Gizmag. ” We wanted to produce something that developers could jump on and make apps. That is when we decided that the right way to upgrade the tables you find on NUI Group [a global research group looking into natural user interfaces] is to offload the image processing to dedicated hardware.”
via Gizmag – James Holloway
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