Pictionaire: Microsoft Research's new multitouch table blends physical objects with digital work

A collaborative project called “Pictionaire,” by Microsoft Research and University of California, Berkeley promises to even better combine the physical and virtual worlds. Pictionaire looks ostensibly like a regular multitouch table, but a higher resolution camera than is regularly used is suspended above the 1.8m surface. This camera can take shots of objects – such […]

A collaborative project called “Pictionaire,” by Microsoft Research and University of California, Berkeley promises to even better combine the physical and virtual worlds. Pictionaire looks ostensibly like a regular multitouch table, but a higher resolution camera than is regularly used is suspended above the 1.8m surface. This camera can take shots of objects – such as magazines, books and sketchpads – placed onto the table, and then when the physical item is removed replace it with the digital version. That digital version can then be manipulated with various multitouch gestures, or even overlaid onto another paper sketchpad and traced around, annotated and otherwise marked-up. For example, if you place a keyboard on the table, the Pictionaire will pull up a text-entry box. If you place a sketchbook on the table, a digital version of the page soon appears. You can even do this process in reverse – the Pictionaire can project a digitized image onto the real life object, like the digital sketchpad image projected onto a piece of paper so you can trace it back onto the physical page.

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