DIY multitouch isn't new - we've featured quite a few home-grown rivals to Microsoft's Surface here on SlashGear - but MaximumPC's tutorial does stand out by virtue of its completeness. Thanks to having a spare PC and projector to hand, they spent just $350 on making their multitouch table.
NORTD have announced the latest version of their TouchKit DIY multitouch system, together with pricing. The system uses a plastic screen with embedded IR LEDs and a modified camera capable of recognising reflected IR light. Put together, with the included software, and you can create your own fledgling version of Microsoft's Surface multitouch table.
Check out the video demo of TouchKit v.2 after the cut
I can't get enough of these DIY multitouch projects, in fact I'm hoping that the more companies like Microsoft see that there's demand for large-scale, low-cost touchscreen technology, the more likely it is that they'll release products that the less DIY-able among us (myself included) can tackle. This latest, by Christopher Jette, outwardly resembles a rear-projection TV, but in actual fact it's a purpose-built multitouch displaythat uses the Frustrated Total Internal Reflection system to recognise multiple points of contact. As with many of the other projects, it relies on a hacked webcam, a standard projector and special software.
Eyebeam are looking to bring DIY multitouch to the masses with their open-source Cubit project. Promising a touchscreen table in the style of Microsoft's Surface, only with a far smaller $500-1,000 build cost, Eyebeam have made the hardware schematics and software source code available for anyone to download. They also sell a kit that includes the table, frosted surface and most of the electronics, with builders only needing to supply the computer, a simple projector and a webcam.
Check out the video of the Eyebeam Cubit in action after the cut
It's a week for multitouch tables, with the latest DIYer to turn their hand to creating a low-cost interactive surface being 17-year-old Bridger Maxwell. His OS X-powered table was built for Central Utah Science and Engineering Fair, and uses the usual array of LEDs, acrylic platter and infra-red camera to recognise multiple points of contact. Currently the table works as an image browser.
Microsoft's Surface Sphere was unfortunately just an eye-catching demo, but if you want some spherical display goodness in your life (or, indeed, just in your living room) then Nirav Patel has the DIY route for you. His homegrown spherical display uses a Microvision ShowWX pico-projector, an 8-inch frosted glass light fitting, a fish-eye lens and some open-source software he's coded up specially, and costs around $200 to put together.
One of the ways that Microsoft's Surface has always distinguished itself from more mundane touchscreens is in its ability to recognise physical controls placed; now the iPhone can have something similar. dsLabs have put together a DIY hardware knob that can be used with a virtual control on the iPhone (or, indeed, another multitouch-capable touchscreen device), using little more than some conductive tape.
Pixel Qi have announced that their first batch of production displays will be ready shortly, and confirmed that the first recipients for the panels will be "specialized tablet devices with multi-touch". Project lead Mary Lou Jepsen does not reveal the identity of the manufacturer using the Pixel Qi screens - which work as color LCDs in regular lighting, but can be read as easily as e-ink panels in direct sunlight - but did say that the company's customers will be at CES with her company.
Could it be that the traditional multitouch table has become passé? After various iterations of DIY and commercial products - not forgetting Microsoft's own Surface, of course - the challenge moves on to better controlling 3D visualisations through a more flexible interface than a flat screen. Into the fray steps French firm Immersion with their iliGHT project, using a cube controller to better manipulate 3D environments.
Some of our most popular netbook pages here on SlashGear are those describing DIY touchscreen projects, where a touch-sensitive layer is added to the budget ultraportable's display. There are already kits available on eBay and elsewhere offering straightforward 7- and 8.9-inch panels, but what we've lacked to date is a really simple tutorial - something that takes you from stock Eee PC to touchscreen marvel. Happily, courtesy of argentum, such a guide is now available.