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Touchscreen Merges the Real and Digital Worlds


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For all the advances in table-top and tablet computing, some design professionals will always prefer the feel of pen on paper to stylus on glass. A new device could provide them with the best of both the digital and the real worlds.

Andy Wilson and colleagues at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, teamed up with Björn Hartmann at the University of California, Berkeley, to design Pictionaire, a touchscreen table 1.8 metres long. The device is positioned directly beneath a ceiling-mounted camera and projector, which can "read" and respond to items placed on the table.

Video: Touchscreen merges worlds

When a user places a sketchbook on the table, the ceiling-mounted equipment recognises it by its size and shape, and projects virtual "drag-off" handle onto the corner of the page. If the user swipes over the handle, the camera takes a digital snapshot of the sketchbook page and sends the information to the touchscreen so that a digital version of the page appears on the table.

A similar process works in reverse – a user can drag an image on the touchscreen onto their sketchpad. The ceiling-mounted hardware then projects the image onto the pad and the user can trace key components onto their sketchbook page.

Pictionaire will be presented at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work conference  in Savannah, Georgia, next month.

From New Scientist
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