report, TEI°09

day 2


I was really looking forward to the second day of the conference, because it was meant to show and test out the projects. For that reason I shot little videos on which the designer  and comuper scientists shortly introduce themselves and tell something about their projects. I will post them here with little critical remarks if necessary and further additional links, you might be interested in.

One of the most impressing projects is the Second Sight multi touch table, presented by microsoft research. At first sight it seems like one normal rear projected multi touch table. By it´s open designed “underwear” you can see two beamers under the surface, each projecting one different image, seperately displayed by shutter technology on a frequency of each 50 hz. One projector´s focus is 2 meters higher than the glass-clear touch table surface. By putting on a frosted, or less translucent sheet of paper, the light of the beamer with the longer projection way gets broken and displayed on the surface in a proper manner. The synchronized shutters of beamer and table lead to the phenomenon that both images can be displayed on one surface… Yes, that sounds difficult, jut because it is very difficult. I put another video on the tuiblog account, which describes it a bit more further.


There was a big amount of multi touch interfaces this year, trying to find a new approach on it. One good idea of using the overall nice technology of multi touch table is to solve it´s main problems. The “ingraspability”. You can touch the surface, wave around with your finger tips, but there is seldomly a haptic feedback provided. The slap book of Malte Weiss and colleagues from RHTW Aachen in Germany shows up a solution. It uses regular rear projetion, but the interactions on the surface are augmented with marker tracked devices, such as keyboard, buttons and faders. They are made of transparent plastic, so they do not disturb the projected image. It´s good to see that they try to link up digital and real world in this approach but the visual design of the graphic interface looks quite bad. I could have imagined to make it more visually attractive. As well the links between the objects a re not so well designed. it works by tipping next and onto the to be linked objects at the same time… that does not make much sense to me…Never the less, the effect of just throwing a blank silicon keyboard like sheet on the table, and imediatly the letters and symbols show up, this is impressing and overall inspiring for future work.

When I´m allready into reporting about touch screens, this is one is absolutely amazing. Not from it´s tangibilty side, more from the nice way of how they make that graphical user interface work so nice. It´s called Vplay and is a C++ and C# based table top video jocking interface. I will not say a lot to this, but one idea came to my mind as i saw it. It works like any other multi touch screen, like the iPhone does for example. The tangibility is agein missed. But what if we use little lenses as somehow tracked tokens to interact with the surface. So everyone knows the snow glasses , wouldn´t it be good to have those as moveable physical items on the table? because of their clearity the would still display the image shown beyond, and even enlarge it optically. This is one sad point to that interface: Because of a natural complexity of a VJ software (Modul8 for example), you have to make the items small to get a lot of them on one screen. By enlarging them optically, you can have the same amount of widgets flowing around, bigger and graspable. … just enjoy the video presented by Stuart Taylor. There is again one more of them at the TUI Blog

Another nice video arranging set up was presented by Tom Bartindale and his colleagues from newcastle school of computing science. they reach the goal of graspabilty. Here is the paper.

The next on I presEnt here is a table top multi touch device to, but papar based. The aim of Son Do Lenh was it, to design a multi touch application with out these technically overloaded tables. So he takes a foldable top projector and visual markers to detect objects. There is a finger tracking as well, and the commands of for example tapping or ticking on an object is simply tracked with a laser. The laser spreads it´s light onto the paper surface. When the finger cross es the light, as it touches the surface it get enlighted by the laser. The software optically detects this enlightment and transfers it into the “click”command. Very nice, although I miss again the visual approach on it. It looks still so techy, geeky, computer scientific, that it lacks on a good relation to the real world and its demands.

The very best of all shown demos was the “Pileus Internet Umbrella” project of Takashi Matsumoto. With his overally kindly way of talking to people, presenting his project and walking around the conference with an umbrella he just got not only me on his side.


It works as follows. It´s a regular umbrella augmented with a camera, accels, gprs sensor and a little projector. With these components it is possible to built up a navigation system for urban space. By pressing the button on the handle, one can make photo of his or her surrounding, put it straight to and tag it with geographic coordinates. This works the other way around too. Because the umbrella ist gprs tracked, it cen get image files from flickr that has been linked to the position the umbrella and it´s user is situated. These are then displayed on the umbrella´s inner surface. By just shaking the umbrella in one or another way, one can switch and browse between the photos. The best is that this also works with google maps. The umbrella works like a compass to direct you in the streets. By rotating it around it´s Z axis, the projected images changes accordingly. Very, very nice one. What he does not knew was, that in german language an umbrella is called “regenschirm” (rain screen) and a monitor is calles Bildschirm “image screen”. From an ethyomolicialy point of view this had been quite predictable, so it´s agein very nice, that he was coming from a more deeper relation betwen these applications he combines here.

Another, again very outstanding interface is the music pendulum by Anne Marie Skriver Hansen and Dan Overholt from the department of media technology in Aalborg Denmark. It´s a pendulum hanging from the ceiling and by pushing it in a circular way, it starts to play a song, according to the movement of a turntable. So If you stop the pendulum, the beat stops too. By grabbing it and moving back and fore, it makes a sound similiar to scratching a record. Because, the pendulum is that high mounted, one has to use the full body to make it scratch. Moving only the wrist or lower arm is not enough. In my eyes this is the most inresting point on this interface. You really has start to learn new movements, and experience your whole body. It is simply made, by just sticking a cord onto a joystick of a RC control. This makes it even more sympathic.

Tomorrow i will post the impression sof the last days sessions, again some related videos and a few images as well. I will also try to summarize the whole conference in some critical sentences … so stay tuned.