Apple's iPad table may be getting all the attention, but how about a far bigger touchscreen? We've seen multitouch tables - like Microsoft's Surface - before, that are capable of responding to items placed onto the tabletop, but a collaborative project called Pictionaire by Microsoft Research and University of California, Berkeley promises to even better combine the physical and virtual worlds.
Video demo after the cut
Pictionaire looks ostensibly like a regular multitouch table, but a higher resolution camera than is regularly used is suspended above the 1.8m surface. This camera can take shots of objects - such as magazines, books and sketchpads - placed onto the table, and then when the physical item is removed replace it with the digital version. That digital version can then be manipulated with various multitouch gestures, or even overlaid onto another paper sketchpad and traced around, annotated and otherwise marked-up.
That way, the designer gets to keep using the pens and paper they prefer, rather than dealing with less tactile stylii, but also get a digital copy that can be backed-up, distributed or otherwise changed. Put a wireless keyboard down on the table and Pictionaire will automatically call up a text-entry box, matching words as they're typed to images and other media.