Open source multitouch software

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We all know multitouch technology looks really cool, but also that it’s still very expensive. Fortunately a group of developers is working on an ‘open source/cross-platform solution for computer vision and multi-touch sensing’, called tbeta. This software will eventually enable everybody to create his or her own multitouch device. Because of the open source character it’ll be easy to experiment and create new interactions.

This is a demo of the latest build of the platform:

tbeta preview from ~ on Vimeo.

The demo appears to work pretty smooth. Already a score of people are playing around with the code and coming up with their own interfaces. It’s really interesting to see how fast these innovations are growing. We’re finally being pushed away from our desk, playing around and experimenting again.

The big advantage of open source is the community that grows around it. It’s not a black box where every now and then an update will be released, but a continuous discussion and growth. The opening up of the multitouch technology will probably push innovation and create new insights.

Of course you’ll first have to build your own multitouch unit, before being able to play around. But, as it is an open source project, there are some nice tutorials for this on the forum. There is “How to make a cheap multitouch pad” for the beginners and “Build a rear projection multi-touch television” for medium or advanced users.

A simple tutorial to build your own mini multi-touch pad:

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

4 comments on this article

  1. Jay on

    This looks like it might pair up very nicely with Sparsh-UI, the open source gesture recognition framework under development at Iowa State University. You can get a Sparsh-UI adapter for touchlib already on their website, http://code.google.com/p/sparsh-ui/

  2. victor on

    Very nice initiative. I wonder if they’re the same people behind Panic.com software, as the resemblance of both sites is remarkable.

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