Cubit: the open-source Surface

May 6, 2008 // 8:46 a.m.

Tags: #cubit #eyebeam #interface #multitouch #multi-touch #nord #surface

If you fancy the idea of a Microsoft Surface, but don't much fancy the $10,000 price tag, you might want to check out Cubit – the open-source multi-touch tabletop display.

The guys over at TechnologyReview have unveiled an attempt by engineers at New York art and technology centre Eyebeam to develop a Surface-like system for as little as £500.

The driving force behind the project was, according to Eyebeam fellow Addie Wagenknecht, a desire to “prove that anyone could build [a multitouch table] if they had a few simple things. The team have made all the software and schematics required to build your own Cubit available under an open-source license, and it's not as tricky as you might think.

The table works via a single webcam – modified to replace the infra-red filter with a visible-light filter – and a cheap projector to throw the image onto the transparent surface. Add in a few infra-red LEDs and the provided software, and you've got yourself a multi-touch coffee table.

It's a cool technology, and with the entry price so low it's something that I could well imagine having a play around with myself – in my copious free time, of course. The software and schematics for having a go are available at the official Cubit site, although at the time of writing the site has been nerfed by heavy traffic caused by articles elsewhere.

A fancy device you could see yourself building, or are you still not convinced at the requirement for a multi-touch interface on a table-top? Share your thoughts over in the forums.