What happens when you convert a 3D screen into the world's largest touchscreen? You can get inside the data.
A team at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands used off-the-shelf hardware, open source software and a little bit of design ingenuity to pull off this huge screen that can interpret over 100 touches simultaneously. The screen itself is transparent, and by using a series of infrared cameras, the computer is able to detect very small variations in heat and interpret them as a touch. Even by using generally older CPUs, the system can parse the touch inputs with a latency of only 30-50 ms, which is pretty damn good for a custom-built system.
The slightly curved screen, while offering some interesting design problems, also helps the immersion factor. "The curvature is nice to have because it enhances the feeling of presence. A virtual reality experience is much more intense with such a screen," the University of Groningen webpage describing the setup reads. "The disadvantage is that many of the techniques used for detecting touches are hard to implement in such a setup. After some initial testing we decided to use the diffuse illumination method using six cameras and sixteen infrared illuminators, the kind that is used for security purposes."
Right now, the huge touchscreen is little more than a novelty and a tool for students and researchers to experience a little Minority Report manipulation of data. But can you imagine playing Plants Vs. Zombies on this thing? Get yourself four or five of your buddies and you could all play at the same time. That would be pretty sweet.
The team hasn't yet come up with a name for the huge touchscreen but a few have suggested iWall and Touch Theater, which are both lame. Can you guys help them by coming up with a better name?
Source: University of Groningen