Coffee table puts on a show behind smoked glass

This coffee table is a real show-piece. It’s got a smoky glass surface that is hiding the LCD screen within. But what fun would it be if it could only play video? The rest of the enclosure houses all the parts necessary to make this living room centerpiece into a computer.

After the break you can see a video showing off each step of the build process. It starts by ridding the screen of its enclosure, and using what’s left to determine the size of the wood frame for the table. With the display firmly in place [Nate] sets to work position, mounting, and developing cooling solutions for the motherboard and the rest of the bits. He does nice work and ends up with a table that we’d be proud to feature in our homes.

Now he’s got a lot of computing power and a huge display, but isn’t something missing? How hard do you think it would be to add touch sensitive input to this? We’re wondering if the overlays used to make those Android touchscreens could be mounted on the underside of the glass? 

Build log photos:

Short demo:

[Thanks Mathew]

Comments

  1. Willaim says:

    rather than doing touch screen which seems very expensive at that size how about just suspending a camera above it since its a stationary table and using that for input or a kinect perhaps?

    • Mojo says:

      Wouldn’t a touch screen on this render it useless as a table? I think a Piezo element for a knock sensor (as seen in the Web Interface Universal Remote Control two days ago) would add the right amount of interactivity for perhaps skipping tracks etc. without being overkill. (Note: Please adjust you definition of overkill when talking about giant screens in coffee tables)

  2. HomelyPoet says:

    Mount it at an adjustable forty-five degree angle to the horizontal, with a pull out tray at the bottom for the keyboard and mouse/touch pad/graphics tablet.
    Voilá.
    Drafts board computer system.

  3. Techartisan says:

    Adda mimio digital meeting assistant. Its a usb sensor bar that you put on your projection screen, use an electronic pen, and a projector to interact with a computer for “front of the class” work. You can find them on ebay under $100.

    You could easily place it in the bezel area and use its calibration to size the scan area of the screen. That way you can have the interaction similar to touch…but just when you are using the stylus….not when you set your coffee down.

  4. Patrick D says:

    Some voice recognition stuff could be cool on this… Its just tough to have a robust unobtrusive input system other than a touch screen.

  5. Patrick D says:

    Or throwing something like this, that can be turned on and off might be nice….

  6. Michael says:

    Unfortunately you couldn’t use the touchscreens from the Android build under the glass as they are resistive (require force to operate). If it were easy to build a capacitive touchscreen (think iPad) of this size, I’d build one in a heartbeat.

  7. Grimm says:

    It’s quite possible to turn this into an LLP (laser light pane) if you want touchscreen input. I’d pair it with a really wide fisheye lens.

  8. aarku says:

    Don’t you have to seriously worry about the panel overheating with something like that?

  9. Galane says:

    Make a desk like Ed Dillinger’s in the original TRON. :)

  10. RSMilward says:

    You could add a SmartBoard overlay to it:
    http://www.smarttech.com/us/Solutions/Business+Solutions/Products+for+business/Interactive+whiteboards+and+displays/SMART+Board+interactive+displays/SMART+Board+interactive+display+overlay
    But it uses cameras to track finger position (multi-touch w/ Windows 7), so it adds depth (~4.5″) for the frame. Also, not cheap.

  11. polossatik says:

    would be nice if he had taken/had the time to comment a bit on the slide show instead of the party music.

  12. Itwork4me says:

    Next time make the legs hollow (using yer uber wood skills) and allow the power to be routed through any of the four. It looks horrid underneath. This is not how you build a table…this is how you build a wooden oven for some computer stuff. Run an outlet box in the floor or something or snake the cables under that patio grade carpet and kiss away the deposit on yer apartment. If you’re on a cement slab it’s almost hopeless to have this look clean…I guess you don’t have cats or small children either. I apologize for the rant, but 3 short throw pico projectors, with laptop is best way to go…and having contacts in the legs for inductive charging. : )

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