On Wednesday, Paul Lacey and I will be conducting a full-day workshop entitled, Make It Multitouch at the Museums and the Web Conference in Indianapolis. We’ll be explaining the technical aspects of multitouch and exploring emerging design practices through a series of exercises. I posted some initial thoughts on design multitouch and multiuser exhibits back in February, in three parts; Interaction and Feedback, Elements, Objects, and Environments, and the Visitor-Experience. During the workshop, we’ll look at the concepts presented in these posts along with other activities with some new additions. An important new area for discussion is the use of physical objects (with fiducial markers) in conjunction with multitouch tables. A very interesting example came out just last week from the Media Computing Group, part of the Computer Science Department at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Called, Slap Widgets these physical user-interface components work in conjunction with multitouch tables. The Media Computing Group has put together a short video explaining how Silicone ILluminated Active Peripherals, or SLAP widgets work.
In our workshop, we are primarily concerned with the implications of multitouch and multiuser interactions, still it is hard not to think about the possibilities that physical objects can present for computer-based exhibits. I don’t think a silicon slider or knob would last a day on the museum floor, but after working with hands-on science centers and other museums for so many years, the connection between computing and more physical interaction presented in this example is certainly intriguing. We’ll post more about the conference and the workshop later this week.
Update April 20, 2009: Shelly Mannion has some photos of multitouch table at MW2009. You can see the photos that are tagged, multitouch in her Flickr group.
Also, here is a picture we took of our multitouch table and the Microsoft Surface. We were moving out the our exhibit space, when we came across a Microsoft Surface set up for the a demo the next day. You can see more pictures in our Flickr set multitouch exhibits.
Update April 17, 2009: Paula Bray wrote a story about the workshop for Fresh + New(er) blog entitled, MW2009 – Multi-touch: what does this technology hold for future museum exhibits?