Students provide Macbook with touch screen using a mirror

Apr

11

2018

A number of MIT students have equipped a Macbook with a rudimentary touchscreen by using a small mirror, which is placed in a corner in front of the webcam. They have also published the associated software.

The adjustment would cost about a dollar, according to the students Anish Athalye, Kevin Kwok, Guillermo Webster and Logan Engstrom. Their project, which bears the name Project Sistine and is the result of 16 hours of work, uses the reflection of the mirrored Macbook screen. By placing a mirror in the right angle, their software can use the built-in webcam to determine the position of the finger and ‘see’ whether it touches the screen. The students have published a video .

They have released the code for their ‘hacky’ finger detection algorithm on GitHub . To make use of it, a calibration process must first be run through to create a projection matrix for screen coordinates. In their prototype, the students turn their touches into mouse movements, allowing them to draw shapes or scroll, for example. A webcam with higher resolution and a curved mirror for capturing the entire screen would lead to better results, they mention.

project sistine

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