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Multitouch Biggie (MTbiggie) – How To

What’s a Multitouch Biggie (MTbiggie)?

A Multitouch Biggie, MTbiggie for short, is a low-cost multitouch table. It can be used for a variety of purposes including: drawing, OS navigation, games, entertainment and more.

I created the Multitouch Biggie to show people how something that seems complicated or ‘magical’ can be made simply and at low cost.

The MTbiggie uses the “Front Diffused Illumination” multitouch technique, with ambient infrared light and a DIY infrared webcam. The MTbiggie is similar to the MTmini, but includes a projected image and infrared webcam (rather than a normal webcam).

The MTbiggie isn’t the most stable and robust setup, but it is the easiest to build. To see other methods of building more stable multitouch displays, view the full multitouch display list.

Parts List

  • 2 chairs (or anything to prop up the acrylic)
  • Piece of clear, flat sturdy material (ie. glass, acrylic, plexiglas)
  • Projection material (ie. printer paper, tracing paper, rosco projection material, etc)
  • Infrared webcam/camera (learn to build one yourself here)
  • Computer (dual core recommended, but not required)
  • Projector
  • Mirror

Total Cost: $400 (using low end projector) – $1000+ (using high end projector) – not counting the computer

How’s it Work and What Conditions are Necessary?

When you place your fingers on the surface, shadows are created where your fingers are placed. The webcam sees these shadows and sends the image to the tracking software which tracks the shadows as they move on the touch surface (paper). Below is a video demonstrating the view of what the camera is seeing and tracking.

All you need is a room with (at least) some infrared light (most lights give off infrared light); a dark room will not work. Even room lighting gives the best results. Lights shinning from multiple directions onto the table gives better results than lights from one direction.

Software and Demo Downloads

Tracking Software Installation and Setup Guide

My Results and other Techniques

You can find information on how to make your own multitouch surface (like the one I built in the video below), by viewing the How to Make a Multitouch Surface page.

Need Help?

If you need more help than is provided here, please go to http://nuigroup.com/forums where there are hundreds of other people that are building multitouch devices and can answer your questions quickly.

Other Resources

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  • Ahn, Seyoung

    Hi, I`m student of Korea. I made it your multi MINItouch, but I failed to build multi biggie. I think my camera is a main cause of fail, but what do you think of my fail cause ??????? my english level is so poor………^^;;;;

  • Ahn, Seyoung

    HI, I came again, I revised my web camera (MS VX-800) to infrared camera, and then screen in CCV camera view doesn`t viewed a monitor scene and viewed my finger shadow. Furthermore, the right side of my arcryl doesn`t show my finger tracking whereas left side and center of arcryl show my finger tracking. Is the adjusting CCV problem in my MT biggie?, but any problem is in my MT Biggie..?? I`m in here all around today. So answer me anytime you could do.

  • Saurav Kohli

    My infrared webcam still picks up the projector’s display, and can’t pick up my finger through it. What should I do?

    • You probably need a stronger filter to filter our the projected image. A ‘bandpass filter’ is best. You can get one here: http://peauproductions.com/store

    • Unnat Bansal

      Which Infrared Camera Due You Use?

  • Unnat Bansal

    Which camera did you use in the video…?
    The exact name..

    • The “PS3 Eye” camera is the best for this type of project.

    • Unnat Bansal

      And what if I modify some other camera to make it IR then…Will it be good?? And what’s the difference between a moded PS3 Eye and another moded Webcam?

    • It will be good. The PS3 is just recommended because it’s inexpensive and performs very well for the price.

    • steven

      the camera ps3 eye has infrared?

    • Most webcams, including the ps3 eye can see infrared, but there’s a IR filter (a filter that removes IR) that usually needs to be removed so the camera can see it. The ps3 is a great camera and you can find some already modified to see IR at http://peauproductions.com/store

  • ace

    HI can i use other infrared cameras so i don’t need to create one: just like the cameras used for CCTV??

  • steven

    hi! seth can you explain me why we need to use the infrared cam?. i mean what is your function ? is not the same with the web cam or it have something that we need for the mtbiggie

    • Hi Steven. A infrared camera is used because a normal camera would see the image being projected and be confused since it would see more than just your hands. Using an infrared camera, we can block out the light from the projector and the camera will only see the hands (things in the IR spectrum). Does that make sense?

  • amr

    I enter celebration and press c to start It but nothing happen what I can do
    I have windows 8 64bit and I running ccv 1.5 and I tried 1.3 and 1.4 and still cant start celebration

    • It’s hard to say. I would ask at http://nuigroup.com/forums

    • amr

      where I can put it ?

    • I would search in the search box on nuigroup for anyone that has had the same problem. If no one has, then I’d post on the forum

    • amr



    Can I search the web, do other stuff etc… by using MTbiggie?

    • Yes, you can use one of the mouse ‘drivers’ to control your browser and search the web.

  • Jacob

    Hi. Can I use white ELD stripe around acrylic as a IR source or it will not work?
    Also how thick acrylic have to be? Is the mirror necessary or I can set up projector pointing upwards? Thanks

  • Jack001214

    Hey Seth if i put a normal Camera,Will it it work?With Projector ?

    • No, a normal camera won’t work when using a camera. You’ll need an IR camera for that. You can learn more at http://nuigroup.com/forums

    • Jack001214

      Oh yea now I know that I tried a normal webcam it didn’t work
      and it me over 1hour to make the MTBigge Anyways Thanks

  • Pepe

    can some one build one? for money but cheap

  • Ryoku

    Hi Seth, I tried to make it around six month and at least it didn’t works, now I want start again, can you tell the steps how to make MTB easily?

  • bernuts

    hi what do you prefer of making an infrared camera using film or a floppy disk?

    • Exposed film works better in my experience.

    • bernuts

      seth can you help me build a touch screen table? the infra red light bars and hit mirror is required or we can use normal mirror? ty for the answer

  • ardhia regita

    hello sir , can you help me please ?

    i have a project in my school , and i want to make multitouch table like u . but I have problems with the installation of infrared lights around the table to detect a fingers and I have a problem with the camera , can not detect a fit with existing menu. infrared laser pen which I use for the first alternative before using a fingers do not work fast respons . please fast respons for me . i need help you sir .nn1nn1

  • Oswaldo LTi

    Hi contact to LTiworldwide com for help you