Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Another round of twitter checking, and far too much link browsing.

Brings some lovely links - Reactable at
It's a "collaborative electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface"

Who came first? Not sure, but it's an interesting area. Multiple people can be involved - "share complete control over the instrument by moving and rotating physical objects on a luminous round table surface. By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language."

It was developed by folk from the Music Technology Group within the Audiovisual Institute at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona Spain. It has already got them the "Ars Electronica Golden Nica" and 2 "D&AD Yellow Pencils", with Björk having successfully used the reactable during her last "Volta" world tour.

It uses a cam beneath the table surface, and analyses the surface, with a projector underneath there also. The reacTIVision software reads the video in & tracks the position (& rotation) of special blobs called “fiducial markers”. So it knows where these objects are and there angle. Kind of a 2Dimensional zcam.

Augmented reality meets fun hacking. reacTIVision is the software behind reactable - and is apparently "incredibly fun and ridiculously easy"!

All spills from

Showing you could have an *amazing* way of showing compounds, creating stuff, learning about nomenclature in a more interactive way (IUPAC) - Race games for kids to display certain compounds - try and work out a compound through the name etc.

The tangible user interface, is probably now nearly most well known through the iPhone.
Amazingly knocking something up in a day or two:

Initial Reactivision setup

The source code is available here, runs in Processing, once you've got the TUIO library from REactable.

Lay the atoms down, they appear on the screen/projector. "Move them closer to each other and, if they can, they form a bond to each other."

Modded to make a glass table, and it was closer still to Surface.

Carbonyl sulphide:


Click a link, and get a page off PubChem substructure search page, with the structure search results:


Built for his time, and ~£30 resources.

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