KOC Mark I (my first table)
Posted: 13 April 2011 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve been wanting a table ever since watching the MT Mini video so many years ago and the recent MT Biggie video finally rousted me to give it a shot.  I’ve actually wanted a digital table for even longer, ever since the first projectors were put to that kind of use. 

I’m going to do a FSI ala MT Biggie, first to see how well it works because it seems like those are the most bright room friendly, this is going to be a gaming table and people need to be able to see actual paper and such after all.  I’ll also try DSI next. Since I want to eventually do fiducials FTIR is out.

Dedicated page and gallery - http://www.keyourcars.com/koc-digital-gaming-table/

So far (to save you a trip unless you want to view the gallery images) ....

A collection of posts, images and links that relate to my attempts to create a digital touch enabled gaming table.

All my gaming table related posts (in reverse chronological order)

Here are the first shots of what I’m building.  This is a ‘general idea’ prototype and I’ve already got ideas on how I’d make it better, sometimes I just wing things without full blown plans and this is one of them.  The first thing I’ll do on Mark 2 is make the bottom smaller than the top so it slopes upwards this will give more room for feet.

It’s going to stick up through this table leaving an extended shelf along with the chip trays and drink cups and etc.

The reason I build this in sections like this rather than framing it out is that I had thoughts on making it able to be taken apart and stored away when it wasn’t needed but after playing with MDF for the first time I realized that there’s just no way you can do that.  I’ve seen them use MDF so often on DIY ‘makeover’ shows as in “Let’s build you some cabinets out of MDF” that I assumed it was a valid option for building.  It’s not.

But I’ve already bought the sheets so I went ahead with it and it just strengthened my thoughts on making this the Mark 1 build so make it functional rather than good.  I am going overkill on the supports using full 2×4′s and screwing every 2 inches on top of using glue.

The reason for the gap in one of the supports is that’s the side the projector will be placed on and I wanted as much room for cables as possible as the projector needs to essentially sit on the floor of the box aimed upwards to allow it to fit in the 33″ of vertical space and get me the projection size I want.

The final interior dimensions are 28 x 44.  Today I’m going to finish the sides and then put framing on the outside of 1×4′s for both strength and visual appeal.

I’m going to make a doughnut if you will around the top out of 1×6′s that will expand outwards that will give the acrylic more support, my plan is 1.5″ of support all around to help prevent sag.  I went with .25″ acrylic as it was easy to get and will put a diffusion layer on the bottom, either Vellum or frosted window sheeting, I’ll try both.  This doughnut will be removable as I want to keep the hole in the tabletop that this box will fit in as small as possible so to put it together the box will be placed inside the legs of the table frame and then the table top lowered over it and then doughnut support frame dropped on top of that.

Either way I’ll be using some form of Diffused Surface Illumination as long term I’d love to work with Fiducials in some fashion even if it’s just control pieces.  And FTIR doesn’t support Fiducials even if it’s arguably the better reactive surface.

Gallery 4/12/2011 -

I’ve added the fourth wall as you can see and then I trimmed it out with 1×4′s, the cheap crap wood but this is the Mark 1 prototype after all, why waste good wood?

It’s gotten it’s first rough sanding to knock down the bumps.  My original thought was to paint it black so it hides in the shadows under the table but then I started thinking, it’s going to get kicked, scuffed and have chair rollers knocking into it so paint may not be the best option there.  I’m not a fan of the ‘distressed’ look, why people pay a premium to have someone hit their furniture with chains and run a sander over it after it’s finished is beyond me.  I guess I was ahead of my time, I grew up with distressed furniture, we just called it hand me downs back then.

So now I think I’m going to stain it instead, a nice dark stain which should help to hide smaller dings.

I’m going to hit the trim work with a router tomorrow to round the edges down as well as move the top and leg frame of the table out to the garage so I can start the surgery on those.

The big square doughnut looking thing is the cap that goes over the top of the base that provides a place to hold the display, it’s made to be removable.  The base will go in the game room, the leg frame will go around that, then the game table top will slide down on top of the base which will protrude through a cutout in the center and then cap will slide down on top of that.  Then I’ll add some filler panels on the tabletop to fill the gap and call it done for now.

Still waiting on my projector to show up, apparently Fed-ex is screwing up (again) as it was ordered next day air on Friday, was in Fed-Ex’s hands by Monday morning and yet I still don’t have it.  Per the tracking number it’s still in New Jersey where it entered Fed-Ex’s system on Monday with a “Scan Error” code on it.  W.T.F…

Gallery 4/13/2011

Today (so far) the table has been routed and sanded, holes filled with putty and sanded again.  Unfortunatley I jacked up my oribital sander, the sanding disk came off at some point and I didn’t notice and when I went to use it again I fried the velcro disk that holds the pads to the sander.  $%*!**!%&!

I cut out the non-projector side as an access hole and trimmed the cutout with 1×2′s for appearances sake.

Next I cut the acrylic to fit.  Fairly simple to cut, just used my circular saw with a 40 tooth carbide blade, cut without any problems at all, no cracks or tearout and the edge is fairly smooth, I was happily surprised.

I’m just using quarter inch acrylic, nothing fancy but it has less flex than I was thinking it would.  I can deflect it by about an 1/8th with heavy pressure, far beyond what I would hope to need to blob detection.

Not pictured is the first coat of stain.  It doesn’t look good to be honest.  MDF soaks up anything you put on it like a gd sponge and it’s impossible to get an even surface out of it.  Add in the soft crap wood I’m using for trim and it’s splotchy as all hell.  But at least it’s protected a bit from scuffs.

I painted the inside white, well I attempted to, I used spray paint and two cans later it’s still not fully covered due to, again, the MDF soaking up anything you put on it.  I can’t stress enough, don’t use MDF.  Get yourself some 1/2″ furniture grade plywood, hell you can get birch or oak ply at Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $50 a sheet and you only need two.  MDF is simply too soft and frangibile.

As you can see in one of the shots my projector has shown up, finally.  Yay!

Still to do -

another coat of stain and poly on everything
more white spray paint to get the inside “silky smooth”
install 120mm fans for ventilation and PC power supply to run them
wire access holes
cut a protective sheet of mdf or hard board to go on the top when it’s not in use as a projector
figure out how to mount the projector (reminder get a tap and die set)
Test projective surfaces using frosted window liner, tracing paper, vellum, frosted window spray

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Posted: 13 April 2011 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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nice work~

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Posted: 14 April 2011 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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looks good nice build. i can relate to the problems with the sander mine though were when my mate wasnt paying attention to where i was holding it and tried to do my nails and most of finger!!!But its all worth it i think!!!

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reallity sucks give me AR

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Posted: 14 April 2011 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Update - Gallery 4/14/2011

Faux finished the table, then cut out the opening for it, moved the bracing on the legs structure so the box would fit, cut out an assload of mdf to make filler plates for the gap between the outer shelf and the box, covered the mdf with some green felt that I had laying around because I didn’t have any more paint. Moved everything inside the house and put it all together.  Added a rope light I had laying around to add some direct lighting for papers that people might be looking at.  I probably will replace them with some micro florescent or some other kind of small strip lighting to add enough work lighting for reading things easily.

Wired up 2 intake and 1 outflow fans inside (reminder need to order some more fans) that I stole out of door of my server closet.  I thought I had more 120mm fans but all I could find are 80mm’s.

All in all a decent day’s work all things considered.

(You can find more pictures at the link in the first post if you’re interested in that kind of thing.)

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Posted: 14 April 2011 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Just a quick update, I have a Logitech Quickcam 9000 Pro from a few years back and as I’m cheap I thought to use it.  A quick google revealed a bunch of “oh you can’t… removing the IR filter destroys the camera… the focus is off afterwards...”

But I figured nothing ventured nothing gained.  It was pretty easy to crack the case and the camera lens was obvious as well although I did have to desolder the autofocus leads to get it out.  Once removed the IR filter was obvious on the bottom where it sits over the camera chip.

Removing it was a piece of cake, I gently pried at the edge with a pick and pop! out it came although it did crack in the process.  It’s very thin so I’ll bow down to the internets wisdom that it would be very difficult to remove the filter without breaking it and extremely difficult to put back.

I put the lens mount back, soldered the autofocus leads back, popped on the still image button and microphone and snapped it closed.

Fired up CCV and voila I have IR vision and it auto focuses for me still.  I’m using film negative as the IR pass.  That whole cheap thing again. smile

Now with all that said, it’s only getting 16 FPS I’m not sure if that’s a limitation of the camera software or hardware or a setting in CCV although I found an XML file with a setting for camera size and framerate.  I tried resetting those to 640x480 and 30 fps and started CCV up again but there was no change, it was still 320x240 and 16fps.

I know the 9000 can do high res, I used to broadcast hi res video of gaming sessions with it although the bandwidth costs kept the FPS low.  So I’m thinking there may be an issue with driver and or Windows 7?  In googlechat it’s only showing 320x240 as well.

Anyway it should be enough to get me started at least on some blobs even if the FPS and resolution is fairly low.

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Posted: 15 April 2011 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It was a driver setting, I had to turn off RigthLight automatic exposure which apparently locks the camera to 15fps.  That gives me the hardware’s max of 30fps.

Still working on the resolution issue.

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Posted: 15 April 2011 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Next hurdle passed is that Flash 10.2.x breaks all the flash demos.  I pulled an archive version though from adobe and ran the flash stand alone 10.1.x and hey presto let there be fire.  Ripples is broken though but apparently that’s a common problem with that particular demo.  Baby steps…

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Posted: 15 April 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Spent an hour or two trying to get FSI to work ala MT minnie/biggie and for the life of me I’m not sure how they’re getting such defined finger tip shadows.  I tried all kinds of lighting setups and angles and in all cases the hovering hand/palm cast as much of a shadow as the finger tips.  I tried window frosted screen (very bright but bad hot spots from the projector) and paper and rosco grey.  The grey worked best at controlling hotspots but the image isn’t as good as I was hoping. 

I haven’t gotten my roll of vellum yet but I’m not holding a lot of hope it’ll magically fix it.

I guess I’ll have to go with active lighting and get some IR emitters instead.  Short term to get the table interactive I’m going to make an IR pen, I have most of the parts except the IR LED and those are cheap at twice the price while I consider my options.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Okay, gave in and ordered a ps3 camera from Peau with a 2.5 lens which is the closest fit for my table dimensions apparently based on his spreadsheet.  I tried lining the box with black felt thinking the reflected light from the white sides was causing less than dark shadows on the fingertips but didn’t make any real difference.  I picked up a couple of IR LED’s and built two IR pens from stuff I had laying around and those work fine although the calibration screen doesn’t seem to like rotated displays.  I guess for the vast majority that’s not an issue but I’m running this off a laptop from the short end (aka game master) of the table so I had the table rotated 90 degrees so my mouse cursor would move in the direction I moved the mouse.  Speaking of which the changing camera bug isn’t resolved in ccv 1.4.  I wish there was a way to force CCV to use a specific camera from the start as most of the time I get lockups trying to switch to the USB camera rather than the built in laptop camera.  And of the times I can get it to switch correctly most of those times the HP Webcam process is still running chewing up about 5-8% cpu for no reason. 

I’m going to order a low profile VGA cable from new egg which should let me drop the projector another inch or so which should get it close to fitting the visible display area, I’m about 2” short in both dimensions right now from filling it edge to edge.

Also my rosco got mangled in shipping as you can see in the attached image, if it ever warms up around here I’m going to lay it out flat on the car roof.  I’ve had good results getting rid of wrinkles that way in vinyl gaming mats.

The attached images shows the pens I made, and a play test session of the rpg system I’m designing.

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