The Poor Man’s Multitouch

with a few hours and a few bucks... the poor man's multitouch

with a few hours and a few bucks... the poor man's multitouch

This past holiday weekend I was encouraged to take a break from sitting in front of my computer. A solid piece of advice for anyone who spends as much time in front of “the glow” as I do. I decided to take that advice… and go and make something that I can use with my computer.

Thanks to an inspiring clip from Seth Sandler (seen below), I rummaged through the stacks of Rubbermaid Totes in the basement and my five toolboxes to come up with most of the materials needed to put together a very simple multitouch.

With a materials list consisting of:

  • a cardboard box
  • a piece of clear flat sturdy material (ie. glass, acrylic, plexiglass)
  • a piece of standard printer paper
  • a webcam
  • a computer

it was hard to say I didn’t have the time to do this. Total time of construction was about an hour.

I haven’t had much of a chance to play around with the applications themselves (as I had to make a correction to my original assumptions and cut the height of the box used for the multitouch) but messing around with the calibration suite itself was enough to jazz me up for a little while. Sent me whirling back in a cloud of memories to the days of helping Chris Teso of The Good mastermind the SNOW project for the city of Portland.

The multitouch itself interfaces with CCV (Community Core Vision), an open source, cross-platform solution for computer vision and machine sensing. CCV has what seems to be a sturdy and helpful community built around it. Should be interesting to see what kind of mischief I can stir up with their help.

Some images from my project:

And the video that inspired the whole thing:

Next up is building a rear-projection multitouch television for under a grand.

Come on paycheck…