Apr 5, 2010

Update on Ideum: Multitouch, Multiuser Table at the California Science Center

Ideum is a company that has been around since 1999.  It focuses on the design and creation of "computer-based exhibits, multitouch installations, rich Internet applications, and social networking sites for museum and Web visitors."   Gestureworks is the software developed by Ideum, which is an authoring solution for Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex.

Below is some information, including a video clip, of one of Ideum's most recent installations a multiuser, multitouch table at the California Science Center.

Case Study:  Ideum's  L.A. Zone Multi-touch, Multiuser Table (Jim Spadaccini)

Here is an excerpt from Jim Spadaccini's post:
"This multiuser, multitouch table exhibit in the L.A. Zone allows visitors to explore a satellite image and map of the LA Basin and view overlays in thematic areas that explore fire, air, water, and earth. In addition, points of interest are placed on the map in the form of images and videos. All of the content and navigational controls are available in English and Spanish. The exhibit software runs on a custom-built 50" multitouch table that supports 60+ simultaneous points of input."

The Ideum team has spent a great deal of attention to the way groups of museum visitors interact with their multitouch applications. In the past, they've noticed that on a 50" surface, visitors would experience interaction conflicts. In the present application, more than one visitor can manipulate the content without changing the interaction of others.  Spadaccini points out that multi-user control of touch screen exhibits is new, so interface design concepts developed for single-user interaction are no longer useful.  Social interactions around a multiuser display are now something to consider.

In my opinion, what the Ideum team learns through their design process can be quite useful to those of us planning to develop multiuser educational applications for interactive surfaces and displays. What I liked about this exhibit is that it has a monitor that mirrors the display, so people can view the interaction from afar.  This feature would be useful in classroom settings that have an interactive table and an interactive whiteboard. The interactive whiteboard as the secondary display so the teacher and other students could see what the group at the table was exploring.

Multitouch Google Maps and Flickr Mashup Built with Flash

Update: A video showing how Ideum's multi-touch table can withstand all sorts of heavy-duty treatment:

Note:I have been pretty busy over the past couple of months- I have much that I haven't yet blogged about.  More to come!

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