As we have expanded our line of multitouch hardware, one of the most frequent questions we get is about the difference between the two types of touch technologies that we employ.
To help demystify the technical differences, this post will speak to the two distinct types of touch technology that we use in our multitouch hardware: projected capacitive touch and infrared (IR) overlay. Both are robust and reliable technologies and unlike camera-based systems each can be integrated into reasonably thin multitouch solutions. There are however, some significant differences in both how they work and in the types of settings that one would consider optimal for each touch technology.
Projected Capacitive Technology
Projected capacitive (pro-cap, pcap, or PCT) touch technology is used in such popular handheld devices as smartphones and tablets. Only recently has the technology been able to be scaled up for use in large screen applications like multitouch tables.
How does pro-cap work? Touch is detected when a finger or stylus comes in contact with the surface which signals a change in the system’s electromagnetic field and capacitance. The change, triggered by the touch, is then pin-pointed and converted to locations on an X, Y grid that the system uses to determine the placement of the touch. A conductive grid pattern of is applied to film or glass to create the projected capacitive field.
The pros of projected capacitive touch systems are:
• bezel-less technology (flush all glass surface)
• impervious to light interference, works in any setting
• very accurate and responsive, same technology found in tablets and smart phones.
• will only detect touch from a finger or stylus
• solid objects can be placed on the display surface without interrupting touch capabilities on other areas of the display
• easy to clean (water and dust resistant)
• capable of 60 touch points
• smooth gesture recognition
• rapid and smooth response
• can be integrated into thin, durable displays
• technology not widely available in larger sized screens
• some film applications can interfere with image quality
We use projected capacitive touch technology with our Platform Multitouch Coffee Tables and our full-sized Platform 46 Multitouch Table. Since the glass surface is flush (no bezel) and water resistant (IP54 rating) we use it exclusively on our multitouch coffee tables.
Infrared (IR) Touch Overlays
Infrared touch overlays are embedded in a bezel around the display and emit vertical and horizontal rows of infrared LEDs and sensors. The infrared light in the overlay creates an invisible grid of infrared beams and sensors detect touch when the plane of the grid is broken by a finger touch (or other solid object).
The pros of infrared overlays:
• scales to larger displays and is economical
• up to 40 simultaneous touch points
• accurate touch, short response time
• smooth gesture recognition
• easy to create custom sized screens
• monitor and touch overlay are discrete, allowing for upgrades or easy replacement
• performs in just about any indoor lighting environment (unlike many camera-based or vision-based systems, such as the SUR40)
• does not interfere in any way with image quality
• can be integrated to create 4K multitouch displays
• can be integrated into thin, durable displays
• solid objects or other obstructions can cause occlusion
• the IR overlay creates a bezel around the screen
• while accurate, touch fidelity is generally better with pro-cap systems
• performance can be affected by extremely bright outdoor light or direct sunlight
• accessing the Windows 8 OS charms menu can be difficult because of the bezel
We use infrared touch systems on our larger touch displays as it is an affordable, readily available, reliable, and easily scalable technology. All of our large (55” and 65”) touch walls use IR overlays, as do the 55” Platform Multitouch Table, 55” Pro Multitouch Tables, and the 100” Pano Multitouch Table.
Images courtesy of 3M Touch Systems, check out their Touch Topics site to learn more.
We’ve always been asked if we rent our multitouch tables, well now we do! Finally, you can rent a Platform 46 full-size table or a Platform 46 / 32 coffee table for your event. Wow your guests or clients with our one-of-a-kind tables and present your content with socially engaging technology. We offer short and long-term rentals to accommodate your needs.
Check out our multitouch rentals microsite for more information.
For questions, and for bookings and availability, please contact us at (505) 792-1110 ext. 1 or toll free in the US and Canada (855) 898-6824, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Rentals are available in the United States and Canada only.
Ideum’s CTO, Paul Lacey will be speaking at Intel Extreme Masters in New York City this Friday. Ideum will have a Platform 46 multitouch table in the Intel booth at Intel Extreme Masters starting on Thursday (October 10th – 13th.) Intel will be showing our GestureWorks Gameplay software, a new way of interacting with games on Windows 8 touch devices.
At Intel Extreme Masters, players and teams from around the world compete in “esports” for prize money and prestige. The NYC events are the second stop in Season 8 – other competition locations include Shanghai, Singapore, and Sao Paulo.
The Platform 46 table will be available for Intel Extreme Masters participants and spectators to check out Gameplay Virtual Controllers for Mortal Kombat, LEGO Star Wars, and others.
Check out the video of the Gameplay Virtual Controller for LEGO Star Wars–we show a two-player configuration about half-way through it.
Don’t forget, we will also be at ASTC 2013 later this month showcasing our hardware and software initiatives.
GestureWorks Gameplay has gotten a lot of attention since its launch at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF 2013) last month in San Francisco. Besides being featured in the keynote and in demos at IDF, Engadget, Joystiq, and Gizmag covered the release. Now the software is ready for Beta release and the first invitations have been sent out.
Those who participate in the Beta program will be getting more than they might have expected. With help from Intel, we are providing free release copies of the software to all the folks who signed up for Beta in September and the next 1,000 who sign up this month!
To sign up, go to: https://gameplay.gestureworks.com
Beta users will receive their invitations into the Beta program starting October 3rd.
Here’s a video of Gameplay in action on new Intel Bay Trail tablet (also announced at IDF). The game shown is one of our favorites, Castle Crashers.
Today our GestureWorks Gameplay software was revealed at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF2013) in San Francisco. The software was shown as part of the keynote address this morning.
GestureWorks Gameplay is a revolutionary new way of interacting with popular PC
games. Gameplay software for Windows 8 lets gamers use and build their own
Virtual Controllers for touch, which are overlaid on top of existing PC games. In
addition, gamers can use hundreds of personalized gestures to interact on the
screen.You can sign up for the Beta, see a video of Gameplay in action, and read the press release on the GestureWorks Gameplay website. The story also hit Engadget this morning, see: GestureWorks Gameplay adds onscreen controls to almost any Windows 8 game
Over the last few years, we’ve become fairly well known for our hardened multitouch tables and touch walls. What some people don’t know is that we provide creative services in the areas of application development and custom exhibits. In fact, our firm has been developing interactive exhibits for nearly fifteen years.
To better showcase these services we’ve redesigned our portfolio site. We’ve also added new projects including: Visit Indy – a multitouch-enabled 3D interactive exhibit exploring the city of Indianapolis and Survey George Washington – a multiuser interactive developed with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In addition, earlier this year we added projects with SFMOMA, Gateway Science Museum, and Spinnaker Tower to the interactive exhibits section of our portfolio.
We’ve added many additional photographs to the Ideum Flickr site showing these custom applications and some of the custom hardware that we’ve produced (a few examples below).
Currently, we are working on projects with George Washington’s Mount Vernon (yes, another George Washington project!), Citizen Science, the National Park Service, NASA, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These projects will be appearing in our portfolio in the coming months.
Our first Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Tables are shipping out this week. This first wave of multitouch coffee tables are going to a pair of universities that will be placing them in student learning centers and lounges.
We’re excited to see these tables ship-off to their higher learning destinations. They’ll be put to the test by in-coming fall ’13 students! That’s okay, we know these tables are up to the challenge.
See the Platform 46 coffee table in action in the video below:
Learn more about the Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Table with integrated 3M displays.
It has been a busy few months here at Ideum! We released the Platform 46 multitouch table and multitouch coffee table, held the HCI+ISE Conference, and developed custom exhibit work for the Garry Winogrand exhibit at SFMOMA and Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, UK. We also have three more custom projects near completion. Our GestureWorks team has continues to be busy with new software releases, new demos, and new partnerships.
The big news is our new software promotion with 3M. If you purchase any of 3M’s outstanding 18.5″, 21.5″, 24″ and 27″ multi-touch desktop displays, you get a coupon for a free standard copy of GestureWorks Core or GestureWorks Flash. You can read the full annoucement on the 3M website. This partnership was announced at InfoCOMM 2013.
In 3M’s booth at InfoCOMM, we showed off the new Platform 46 multitouch table and multitouch coffee table along with a new GestureWorks-built demo. Our multitouch, multiplayer version of Foosball shows just how responsive a GestureWorks-built application can be. You can learn more about this unique demo on the GestureWorks blog.
More news to come as we will have additional product annoucements this summer and fall!
The Platform 46 Multitouch Table and Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Table will start shipping in July. (You can pre-order yours here.) These advanced touch tables are the first to integrate 46″ 3M High-Performance Multitouch Displays. They use projected capacitive touch technology (just like most smart phones and tablets). The displays are impervious to light interference and support up to 60 simultaneous touch points.
Gizmag and Geek.com both ran stories on the new tables and we got a mention in ComputerWorld. (The ComputerWorld story talks about how Microsoft could “rule consumer electronics” if they released a table like the Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Table.)
Both tables were announced at InfoComm 2013 in Orlando, Florida earlier in the month and were featured in the 3M booth. InAVate TV interviewed Dave Henry of 3M as he showed off the Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Table.
3M also showed off some new GestureWorks-built multitouch software. Look for coverage on that and other new software developments in an upcoming blog post.
Ideum will be attending this month’s American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo in Baltimore, May 19-22. We’ll be at Booth #501 - come see our Platform 3M 46 touch table, Presenter 55 touch wall, and our Open Exhibits Collection Viewer application.
The MuseumExpo opening event begins on Monday, May 20th at noon.
Jim Spadaccini, Ideum’s CEO & Creative Director, will present in the Annual Meeting session titled Learning Together: Developing Multi-User Interactives on Tuesday, May 21st at 8:45 a.m. Fellow presenters include Aaron Miller of Bluecadet, Marie Georg of the Field Museum, and moderator Josh Goldblum of Bluecadet.