My name is Nolan.
I am a student at University of California San Diego studying BioEngineering:Biotechnology.
MT Website: http://www.peauproductions.com
My Online Store: http://www.peauproductions.com/store/
Charcoal Art: http://peauproductions.deviantart.com
My interest in multitouch technology in terms of home-brew, open source, started back in the end of 2007 after seeing the Wiimote videos of Johnny Lee in my random boredom while surfing the video waves of YouTube. Those videos led me to Seth Sandler’s blog (cerupcat), which then led me to these forums. At first I didn’t have a huge, uncontrollable interest in creating my own hardware, let alone learning to code anything. It wasn’t until the spring of 2008 that Seth displayed his MT table at our school (he graduated 08 with the table and accompanying software as his senior project). Without even having the chance to meet him, I used the table and found it really engaging and natural. This interaction stayed in the back of my mind as maybe something that I too could do. The summer of 08 I traveled to the east coast of Australia and covered about 5500 miles in 3 weeks with my best friend and a rented campervan. Being on the road every day, and away from the tech that surrounds be here in the States gave me time to think on what projects I wanted to get started in the second half of the year. First on the list was getting into the world of multitouch.
I started like probably most people. Grabbed one of those countless cardboard boxes you have lying around after a Costco shopping run, put some paper on the glass from a picture frame, took whatever crappy webcam you have lying around, duct taped it to the bottom of the box, downloaded the MTMini software, and touched the possibilities of multitouch for the first time. I’d have to say the simple fact of the ease of how the technology worked sucked me in more than anything.
For the rest of August and September, I read anything and everything on the nuigroup/forum site, reading every single thread, except the ones dealing with software, as I didn’t think I’d be doing that since I’d never really programmed more than a little Basic and C++ in my life. For me, if I am excited about something, I become addicted to finding out what I can about it; I’ve been called a sponge of information before. And, like I did when I sold electronics and perused Engadget every day, keeping up with every new tech development in the world, I read and digested what was on the forum about multitouch.
For my first project, I knew that my poor student budget wouldn’t be able to afford a projector, so I went with LCD. I didn’t want to deal with pouring silicon layers for an FTIR setup, so that was out of the question. I got a free “broken” LCD from work (it wasn’t really broken, just supposedly would go blank after awhile, and I being the IT guy, made the call to upgrade). Gutting that AOC monitor was fun, though it had the FFC issue so I didn’t feel too bad as the twist-tied power and vga controller boards fell into the cardboard box, pulling the LCD with it, and tweaking the cables enough to render it useless. It did though; act as a good prototype in terms of what technology (FTIR, DI, etc) I wanted to go with. I blasted the underside of the panel with about 70 IR LEDs and found no workable effect, which crossed out Rear DI. LLP techniques involved lasers and I didn’t want to play with anything dangerous, so the only other option was called Side-DI (now known as LED-LP). Essentially it is FTIR, without the acrylic for the LED light to pass through. It creates a wide plane of IR light (much much wider than LLP), but still very usable if the correct filters were applied in the touch software (Touchlib/tbeta).
With this direction I began to plan my little MT box. I began my blog here to document and organize the pictures, video and other things that I was working on. After 2 more destroyed LCD panels, I built my MT box. When that was done, I realized that despite all the building I would ever do, it wouldn’t be usable without software to manipulate. I looked around on the forum for the common language (framework), and realizing AS3/flash was the most popular, I began to reverse engineer and teach myself how to code.
As my knowledge grows in both hardware and software pertaining to the emerging world of multitouch, I hope to share what I learn and produce with anyone who is interested.