What does it mean multitouch?
The word multitouch is used today to characterize a wide range of touch-sensitive surfaces. They allow control of an electronic device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, by using gestures performed with one or more fingers, or in fact with more hands. Compared to older generation of single-touch devices, the main difference of multi-touch devices is therefore the ability to interpret complex gestures, that make the interaction between man and machine so much easier and faster.
Interactive tables, stands, walls
We designed a sturdy metal case that we use in assembling interactive tables and interactive stands. These stands and tables can be used for accessing information in an easy and entertaining way in locations such as hotels, shops, offices, showrooms, museums, art galleries, clubs, television studios and at various exhibitions. We also design and create interactive walls, such as interactive whiteboards, providing new and modern way of conducting meetings and lectures.
We develop software for OS X, iOS, and Android, and create applications for large multi-touch screens, that allow multiple interactions on a shared screen. Try the demo of our applications for OS X with a multi-touch device compatible with protocol TUIO 1.1, such as frames produced by PQLabs
, or with the TUIO simulator.
What is TUIO?
TUIO is an open framework that defines a common protocol
and API for tangible multitouch surfaces. TUIO protocol is used for transmitting information relating to identity, position, rotation, velocity and acceleration of objects, normally placed on a plane, that can be manipulated by one or more persons at the same time. TUIO is available on our multitouch installations, and our applications are compatible with TUIO.
The multitouch technologies used by hardware manufacturers are many, but not all have had the same commercial success. Today the multi-touch capacitive sensors are extensively used because they have been adopted in portable devices, tablets, smartphones, and computer peripherals. These type of sensors allow to detect with great accuracy the contact of a finger or a stylus on a surface of small dimensions. However, very few manufacturers offer capacitive sensors for large screens. So, for large dimensions, less expensive technologies which use infrared light and light sensors have been adopted. Examples of those are frames produced by PQLabs
. These frames can be attached to normal screens, by means of suitable fastening systems such as those that we offer in our multi-touch installations. When an object placed on a surface needs to be identified, sources of infrared light and micro cameras are used. A special software processes the images from the micro cameras, identifies objects, gets the position and rotation, and translates this information into commands. The Reactable
is an example of a musical instrument based on this solution. The integration of computer vision with LCD screens is the idea put forth by Microsoft with PixelSense
technology, used in the screen SUR40 produced in collaboration with Samsung. With this technology it is possible to create touch screens also able to acquire an image of objects placed on the screen.
In tablet and smartphone market, the features of multi touch interfaces are now quite established with products such as iPad and iPhone, or Android based devices. Instead, the market for large multi-touch surfaces is less established. We can find all-in-one PCs, usually limited to 10 simultaneous touch points and with screens up to 27'', but to make larger multitouch surfaces we need to take an expensive solution such as SUR40, with 40'' screen, or use less sophisticated but cheaper products, such as the frames of PQLabs
, which can reach up to 100'' and beyond when connected in series. With this type of frames you can transform ordinary screens or TVs into multi touch surfaces. It is also possible to create multi touch walls using one or more video projectors.
Multi touch interfaces are mainly adopted in portable devices, where they replaced the keyboard and allow the use of the same surface for displaying contents and input of commands. Before the portable devices, multi touch technologies were adopted in traditional input devices, like trackpad and mouse. They replaced buttons and wheels, and it became possible to control the computer by touch gestures. The new multi touch interfaces allow a number of people to use the same interactive surface at the same time, and will replace the traditional way of interaction between man and machine.