How to create AR with an interactive table

Our community has created many interactive walls and we love every single one of them. Every now and then we receive a project that we didn’t expect one would do with our tools. ByAR’s latest combination of AR with an interactive table is one of them.

When Pedro, byAR’s augmented reality specialist, started conceiving an exhibition about Ernesto Korrodi, a Swiss architect, who was established in Portugal at the beginning of the XX century, they wanted to have a table with his work in the middle of the room. Their aim was to create the experience in a way that the visitors would feel like they were entering Korrodi’s studio where the table in the centre would represent his actual meeting table upon which he would present his work.

Over this smart table, byAR deployed several books to be unfolded by the visitors. They used video mapping projection and computer vision technologies to display the right content on each blank page of these books as the visitors cycled through them. In addition to this, they wanted to turn the table into an interactive one, where special contents could be activated by simply touching the designated spots of the interactive table.

The challenge then became determining the best way to add this interactivity to a table with an irregular surface. There were a couple of options. They could not have used infrared technology to put a frame around the table as the objects over the table would create interference. They also didn’t want to use computer vision technology to detect the touches either because such methods are not very accurate.

So they considered adding touch sensors for when a button was used as the interface, the aim being to have a simple level of interactivity: Just having a few touchable hot points to activate different contents.

Through their research, they got in touch with us at Bare Conductive and they deemed our solution as a very simple and flexible technology. The idea of painting their own buttons and giving them any shape they wanted was ideal. Furthermore, the possibility of using our capacitive sensing technology to create capacitive touch points is a very useful asset.

For their Korrodi table, byAR used the Interactive Wall Kit for its features. Their first reason to choose this kit was the noise protection it delivers. The kit comes with shielded cables, which significantly reduce the interference of electrical noise. Their second reason was that during the learning phase, they found the kit to be easy to install and straightforward to implement.

In order to guarantee the best performance possible was achieved with the Interactive Wall Kit, they considered a number of properties while designing the structure of the table and through the installation of the interactive technology:

1. byAR made sure that there weren’t any metallic parts in the table, at least around close proximity to the sensors, to guarantee zero interferences from metals.
2. They placed the touch points with a separation distance of more the 10cm to avoid wrong or multiple touches being detected at the same time.
3. Even though it wasn’t essential, they wanted to make sure that the technology had a very stable signal input so they deployed an uninterruptible power source (UPS) between the power plug and the PC. The Touch Board of the kit is connected to the PC to transmit the data.
4. They installed each sensor beneath the table with a distance to the surface of just 5 mm to guarantee maximum sensitivity and speed of reaction for any touch.

The design became an interactive touch table with a complicated surface but a very accurate, stable method of interactivity.

When Pedro sent us this project he also wrote us these kind words:

“At this point, it is important to emphasise the contributions of Bare Conductive through the entire process. First of all, the company provided us a wonderful assistance with their helpful service. It was fast and detailed, it answered all of our questions. However, even more importantly from a developer’s perspective, the level of documentation and resources available on Bare Conductive’s website is simply amazing. Using both the Arduino and the Processing examples that are provided, we were able to modify our system easily for any detail we required. The source codes are easy to understand and even easier to edit. For these, we are grateful to Bare Conductive and proud to have such a successful project installed with ease.”

Many thanks, Pedro and byAR! It was a pleasure working with you and we love the project!

Images & Video: byAR

If you’d like to see your project on our blog, email us at: info@bareconductive.com

If you want to create interactive displays with a Raspberry Pi, check out the Pi Cap and projection mapping.

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