Build a Multitouch Surface Computer for Less than $500

Microsoft's cool Surface computing device costs $12,000 and is not yet available to the public, so the folks over at Maximum PC decided that they're going to build their own Surface-like computing device using open-source software.

The result: a fully-functional multitouch device that lets you play games, manipulate documents, and use google earth-like applications. The final price of all the custom hardware was less than $500, not including the actual computer and a borrowed projector.

Maximum PC's post details their entire build process and explains the technology behind their DIY multitouch machine:

There is, it turns out, a whole community of very smart folks out there on the internet perfecting the art of building DIY multi-touch surfaces. The process isn’t exactly simple, but the results we saw were stunning: multitouch surfaces with responsiveness rivaling Microsoft’s $12,000 offering, built in a garage on a shoestring budget. “Future UI article be damned,” we thought, “we’ve gotta build one of these for ourselves.”

And so we did. We documented the whole process, from start to finish, so that you can try building one of your own, if you’re so inspired. We’re not going to claim to have done everything perfectly the first time, so think of this article as more of a build log than a definitive how-to.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by notdagreatbrain.

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Oh yea lot of man hours building that.But if someone
in Chattanooga area is ready to build 1 so am I.
I think Ubuntu would be rockin' on something like this.
or even a good BSD. Very marketable I might add.
I would think it's possible to be cost effective and
profit from building mass amounts of these.
But I would have to do some extensive research before I just walk into a bank and say well Lend my business.
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Interesting, they were using a Java program to capture Open Sound Control packets, and send them along TCP/IP to Flash. It's be easy enough to use Java's Robot class to turn the first touch event into mouse cursor movement, then any subsequent events can be re-broadcasted to any application that wanted to listen. (You've just set up the Java app as a server. Any other apps would just open a TCP/IP connection to the Java app.)

The point of all this would be to keep compatibility with the OS, with multitouch being a nice add-on for any apps that woud support it.
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