50″ multitouch table is expensive, indestructable


Wander through a well-funded museum these days and you’re likely to find interactive exhibits scattered around, such as this sleek 50″ projection-based multitouch table. The company responsible for this beauty, Ideum, has discontinued the MT-50 model in favor of an LCD version, and has released the plans for the old model as part of the Open Exhibits initiative. This is a good thing for… well, everyone!

The frame consists of aluminum struts that crisscross through an all-steel body, which sits on casters for mobility. The computer specs seem comparable to a modern gaming rig, and rely on IEEE1394 inputs for the cameras. The costs start to pile up with the multiple row of high-intensity infrared LED strips, which can run $200 per roll. The glass is a custom made, 10mm thick sheet with projection film on one side and is micro-etched to reduce reflections and increase the viewing angle to nearly 180 degrees. The projector is an InFocus IN-1503, which has an impressively short projection throw ratio, and a final resolution of 1280×720.

The estimated price tag mentioned in the comments is pretty steep: $12k-16k. Let us know with your own comment what alternative parts might cut the cost, and watch the video overview of the table below, plus a video demonstration of its durability. For another DIY museum build, check out Bill Porter’s “Reaction Time Challenge.


  1. cheeseslices says:

    inb4 “where’s the hack?”.
    I think it’s so nifty when stuff like this gets released to the public. This may have a strong correlation with my views on the normal behavior of for profit organizations

    • Exit151 says:

      This articles reads to me as more of a challenge, cheeseslices.. They have released the goods on us, so the talented folk who visit here can say, “hey.. You can build this for FAR less than `12k (out of pretty much everyone’s budget here). I think this is an awesome post, and can’t wait to see what others do, that I might be able to replicate to bring one of these into my house! :)

      • static says:

        I agree this post intent was to create a discussion;
        “The estimated price tag mentioned in the comments is pretty steep: $12k-16k. Let us know with your own comment what alternative parts might cut the cost, and watch the video overview of the table below, plus a video demonstration of its durability. For another DIY museum build, check out Bill Porter’s…”

        However if Josh placed that at the top rather than bottom, the “it’s not a hack” contingent would have missed it anyway.. Personally I feel it’s best suited as a forum topic, but that wouldn’t satisfy the ” that requires registration and logging on” contingent.

        • Dee Lirius says:

          How about a hackaday subscription?
          Non-subscribers would get the site as always, and subscribers could filter out hacks or non-hacks, or submitters they don’t like, or themes they hate.

          Or maybe a non-/hack voting system?

  2. mojojoe says:

    To cut the cost I would have gone for a $2K 50″ touchscreen monitor, $1K computer and $5K on a gold plated cabinet.

  3. posli says:

    Indestructible eh? Sounds like a challenge. It’s tempered glass, so can do what tempered glass can do. Though I’d imagine dropping a handfull of sand on that pricey surface or spilling a big gulp worth of your favorite sugary substance would make them freak out.

    • pcf11 says:

      I’ve seen a sledgehammer bounce off the face of a large pane of tempered glass. A sledgehammer the guy swinging it was trying to put through it. That is what I’ve seen tempered glass do.

      • Try an automatic center punch. Or just chip an edge. I had a big piece explode in my hands that way.

        • pcf11 says:

          These were mall store front windows, so no one was holding them in their hands. Each pane probably weighed a half a ton. We did tap them on their edges to break them out. At first no one knew they were tempered to begin with, which is why the one knucklehead swung at one with a sledgehammer. It wasn’t me that did it, but I was close by when he did it so I had a front row seat for the comedy. That hammer bounced off that pane and he was totally unprepared for that, so he went flying! I swear I saw that glass flex, then bounce back like he’d hit a huge gong. Boing! I will say this, no one tried a second sledgehammer shot on any of it. Tempered glass doesn’t really explode either. When we broke those windows out they fell down in nice, neat piles. It was like those cubes were poured from where the panes had been. Although I can see how tempered glass breaking can be perceived as an explosion. There is a thud, and it all goes at once.

    • Ren says:

      Yeah, don’t use the word “Indestructible” around my 9 year old!…

  4. Tired Juan says:

    Reminds me of the original Microsoft Surface. Before it was a tablet it was a ‘coffee table’ that you could set your phone on and it would auto-sync (or so they said) and had a large projector based multi-touch display. It had a price tag of around $10k if I recall correctly.

  5. fartface says:

    Indestructible? Wanna Bet? I am certain that only a couple of whacks with an AXE will destruct it. you can get through bullet proof glass with an axe.

  6. soundman98 says:

    indestructible, maybe. but will it blend?

  7. JasonB says:

    To do it cheaply, you start with a rear projection TV, use plexiglass, modify an EyeToy to only see IR and buy cheap IR lights from China.

  8. Indestructible? Clearly this hasn’t been kid-tested.

  9. Hirudinea says:

    That is the biggest tablet I’ve ever seen! But really it would be hilarious to run Android on it.

  10. Paul says:

    Check out http://nuigroup.com/go/lite, This is an active community in touch surface’s and all sorts of control.
    I used that site alot when working on a touchtable setup!

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