The MAGFest 2013 Interactive Table Experiment: Success!
I built an interactive table that I took to magfest as an experiment in exhibit design.
Above is a video with Sabre (Kimberly Weigend) from the Fragdolls interviewing me at MAGFest 2013 about my table. Primarily I have been working with flash web advertising and video game related wordpress sites but I did the table as an experiment to see if I would enjoy being an interactive exhibit designer. While working on the project I was getting increasingly frustrated and I’m still not happy with the bugs it had, but people were so excited and positive about my table that it has pushed me forward into trying exhibit design as a profession. I am revamping my website and will soon be pursuing clients for interactive exhibit services. It was a lot of fun to see everyone’s reactions and I hope to do something bigger and better in the future.
I will offer services to build a set up as an exhibit and create software and marketing ideas for it, or create software for professional products like the MS PixelSense, formerly called MS Surface or other manufactured products. The benefit of the DIY versions is that the technology and plans are available on the internet for anyone to build and you can build one for a fraction of the cost of the professional products. Of course if you want better performance, you need to shell out more money. The table I built for MAGFest was the lowest budget I could manage(around $800), yet still performed fairly well. For an exhibit business I believe my value lies not with developing the technology, as others have already done that, but using my marketing and design background to put it to use in new and hopefully fun/interesting ways.
Mentions and Videos:
Interactive Exhibitor Table: The Coolest Non-Game Tech at MAGFest
A video I took of people using my table
Around the 1:55 mark in the video below this Fragdoll cadet compliments my table nicely :)
If there’s anymore videos floating around let me know and I’ll add them to the list.
For those looking to build their own:
The technical term for my table set up is Rear Diffused Illumination. I learned a lot about what I know from videos on youtube, the NUI Group forums, and bought some parts from the Peau Productions store(same guy from youtube). I bought low cost infrared light emitters that shine up through the table surface which is comprised of a rear projection material stretched over a home depot bought acrylic. Anything that touches the surface reflects that light back down into a Playstation Eye camera that has been modified to see only infrared light. The PS Eye sends images to a program called Reactivision which recognizes symbols on the back of cards and finger tip sized blobs, registering their number and orientation and sending that information to an Adobe Air program written in Actionscript 3 using the TUIO AS3 library. The Air program is then projected onto the surface rear projection material. The program I used at the show was running the standard Flash engine, which I have learned is rather clunky. My next task is to learn and make use of the Starling game engine for flash which purports to make use of full 3D hardware functionality allowing for greater performance on a variety of devices.