Chess Table: Physical Interface For Internet Games

Wanting to get back to playing with actual pieces, [Thomas Pototschnig] built a chess table that interfaces with the Internet. The table uses an custom setup to project the board on the frosted surface of the table. Chess moves from your internet opponent are displayed as arrows on the board so you can move the pieces. Your moves are detected by a webcam below the surface as this table actually functions as a multitouch display. From the description, it sounds like the projector was made from a 128×64 graphic LCD display. A 64×64 pixel area is used, with an LED below and a lens above. This works remarkably well. See for yourself after the break.

Want some other options for your chess setup? You can play against a robot arm, or if you’ve got 144 square feet of extra space you can build a really big board for the occasional game.


[Thanks Doug]

15 thoughts on “Chess Table: Physical Interface For Internet Games

  1. would be cool to make them magnetic and have magnets move around the pieces from beneath the board, but then you’d might run into problems from stuff like diagonal movement and knights.

  2. @Dan Cardin: that’s how almost every automatic chess playing machine has been built (like the Phantom). Knights are usually resolved by moving other pieces from the way first, and then putting them back in place.

    This hack is very nice, and seems cheap to build as well. Nicely done.

  3. nice work. It would be cool if the opponents pieces could move themselves. Perhaps, if the pieces were ferromagnetic, then if there were a small electro-magnet that moved on an xy plane below the table, it could go to the correct square, trigger the magnet and slide the opponents piece to its next position. it would have to drag them along a vacant path, perhaps along the borders of the squares. Seems like it would work when the details were solved.

  4. to everyone talking about using magnets to move the peices, you do remember this is a projected screen being fed into a webcam right? so how does all that work with a bunch of junk in between?

  5. This is cool.
    Wow, when i first saw the picture i thought it was moving the magnetic pieces with another magnet from under so that you could play chess with someone online and the robot moved their pieces.

  6. Sorry, ignore the previous post, anyway Osgeld you could have an arm with a small electromagnet move in, move the piece and then move out of the way, the projector would only be interrupted momentarly, but I agree with blogger, just use projected pieces, and set up a webcam above the board to read the players moves, neat!

  7. @Awe Lucid: When you said ferromagnetic my first thought was that the pieces themselves were made of ferrofluid that would just change shape to “move” the pieces using different magnetic fields for each square. Then i realized how impossible that would be and correctly determined the meaning of your comment :)

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