Sensetable

What is it?

Many of Patten Studio‘s interactive projects are built on top of the Sensetable. Sensetable is a hardware platform for bringing the computer interface off of the screen and onto the tabletop. It tracks the positions of objects on a tabletop surface and provides them as inputs to software running on a computer. The Sensetable concept and initial prototypes were developed by the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab. Patten Studio has developed a robust and affordable implementation of the Sensetable platform for a variety of commercial applications.

Applications

computer aided design (CAD)
urban planning
data visualization
musical performance
interactive kiosks and exhibits
business simulation
supply chain visualization
resource scheduling
factory floor layout
collaborative decision making
geographic information systems (GIS)
coordination of emergency services
and more...

Technology

Sensetable uses a capacitive technology to locate tags on a tabletop surface. Once the position of a tag on the table has been computed, the tag uses a very low power 2.4 GHz ISM band radio to transmit that position to a receiver connected to the host computer by USB. A standard Sensetable antenna panel measures 24 cm by 37 cm, and these panels can be tiled to create an interactive surface of the desired size. The antenna panel can be built into a variety of tabletop surfaces for permanent use, or it can be placed on top any ordinary tabletop. The antenna panels have low power consumption, and can be powered by a 12V wall adapter or (for custom applications) a rechargeable battery. If the table is powered by a battery, the Sensetable becomes completely wireless. Each Sensetable tag includes a small microcontroller, and custom tags with em- bedded buttons, dials, sensors and displays can be designed. Sensetable is designed for cross-platform compatibility. Currently it runs on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. Sensetable uses the LusidOSC API for application development. This open source API makes it easy for application developers to use tools such as Processing to develop Sensetable applications.