Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Touch Menu System: Initial Structure (Video)

So I am building a 3D menu system using FlashCS4 with Papervision3D and Tweener added extensions. My previous basic cursor app done earlier in AS2 can be found here. I love the 3D world and what you can do with it so expect big stuff from me when I do my future apps. Try it out below:

Here is a video showing it used in a touch environment (no extra touch features yet):

In the above video, what you are seeing is the central sphere launch from start up, one tap in this central sphere launches satellites when none are present. Hitting one of the satellites causes the next level to be displayed (hard to see in the video, but the base color of the satellites is changing, notice the bottom left sphere changes as I move up/down levels). The satellites with the green on them is the furthest level you can go, and thus me hitting the satellites more doesn't do anything. If the central sphere is hit when there are satellites up, it advances down one level, showing the next level satellites, but only if we aren't at the starting base level.

The menu will be launched by my 3 finger menu launch code that I created a month or so ago. The central orb will be a 3D model done up in 3D Studio Max or equivalent software. The "satellites" orbiting the central sphere will have planes with words/graphics fixed to them in much better graphics than you see in this video.
There will be many layers and will be as easily customizable as I can make it. I also plan on adding a menu section that will allow the manipulating of the menu itself, like flying around the whole 3D system, moving the satellites around, etc.

More to come soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Projector! & Designs for a new LLP "Coffee" Table

** As an update to this post, I have since changed my table to a DSI table and sold the projector for $600, and bought a better one.**

Well, I finished up this school quarter finally and have been working on a bunch of flash/as3 stuff, tooling around with different ideas and projects. I messed around with the Youtube API a bit and have turned my attention back to building a cool 3D menu, now using Papervision3D and the Tweener add-in.

I received some lasers from Aixiz for another project, but they are too weak, so new ones will be ordered in the coming weeks. While playing with the lasers, I came to appriciate the easy setup of a multitouch LLP (Laser Light Plane) table, and have decided to make my next table a LLP one.

I randomly popped onto for projectors this week and the first most recent post was about an Optoma EP7155 projector for $200!!! I assumed something was wrong with it, but called anyways. The guy said nothing was wrong with it, so I drove out there to have a look, not expecting much. I was first surprised at how small the thing was and it all looked good so I swapped for cash and took it home to play with it.

The OPTOMA EP7155 is known as a ultraportable "laptop" projector, hence why it is so small:

It has a bunch of useful ports on the back and should work really well for my new table. It's native resolution is 1024x768, but can do up to 1600x1200. I will be running it at 1280x768, as that is the resolution of my 720p HD projector in my living room. The table will also act as a controller for the HD one, along with displaying it's own image. Only thing is that it is quite loud, at about 35db or so since the fan must be on high to cool it off since it gets hot. Thus I will have to make sure there is good ventilation and to enclose it in such a way as to reduce noise.

A rough diagram of my new table:

And the placement of the mirrors to achieve the shallow 2 foot depth using this website:

I picked up some mirror tiles at Home Depot for cheap and played around with angling the image, but I will need bigger mirrors for my final table

So looks like this will be a smooth topped table probably using a single layer of frosted glass or with a piece of vellum underneath as the projection surface. The lasers will be around the corners. I will test with 2 lasers first and decide if I need 4 or not.