Open Exhibits - Research - Papers



High Precision Multi-touch Sensing on Surfaces using Overhead Cameras


We present a method to enable multi-touch interactions on an arbitrary flat surface using a pair of cameras mounted above the surface. Current systems in this domain mostly make use of special touch-sensitive hardware, require cameras to be mounted behind the display, or are based on infrared sensors used in various configurations. The very few that use ordi- nary cameras mounted overhead for touch detection fail to do so accurately due to the difficulty in computing the prox- imity of fingertips to the surface with a precision that would match the behaviour of a truly touch-sensitive surface. This paper describes a novel computer vision algorithm that can robustly identify finger tips and detect touch with a precision of a few millimetres above the surface. The algorithm relies on machine learning methods and a geometric finger model to achieve the required precision, and can be ‘trained’ to work in different physical settings. We provide a quantitative evaluation of the method and demonstrate its use for gesture based interactions with ordinary tablet displays, both in sin- gle user and remote collaboration scenarios.