Microsoft Surface may be an easy option for businesses to get a multi-touch surface computer but they did not invent it nor is it the only viable option to having one yourself.
The guys over at MaximumPC has done a fantastic job of documenting how to build a multi-touch surface computer all from scratch using open-source multi-touch software Touchlib. I find it facinating that the multi-touch is basically composed of IR LEDs, camera, and IR filter; it’s not much of a science at all nor new technology but it does, however, look tight in the eyes of a modder/hacker.
There are several different ways to make a multi-touch surface, but we’ll focus on the one that we employed: the FTIR screen. An FTIR (short for Frustrated Total Internal Reflection) setup involves three vital components: a sheet of transparent acrylic, a chain of infrared LEDs, and a camera with an IR filter. The LEDs are arranged around the outside of the sheet of acrylic so that they shine directly into the thin side surfaces.
If you are up for the challege, I highly suggest you to build one of these and guest blog it on my blog.
Here’s a video demo: