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PQ Labs Multi-Touch G3 touchscreen and a table form an iTable

By Damir Beciri
9 March 2010

itable-at-cebit-2010PQ Labs demonstrated their G3 touchscreen technology at this year’s CeBIT by installing it into a coffee table called the iTable. They have essentially taken the idea behind the Microsoft Surface and made it less bulky and cheaper (at least the folks from PQ Labs claim it will be). There are several variations of their iTable and we’re going to write about G3 Plus version.

The USB-powered Multi-Touch G3 touchscreen interface comes in sizes ranging from 32” right up to 65”. For the iTable, Silicon Valley’s PQ Labs installed a 42 version of the technology into a coffee table structure and connected it to an undisclosed computer system running the company’s PQ Window software, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.

Sensors around the edge of the screen in the iTable can register up to 32 simultaneous touch points on the 3mm tempered glass surface allowing for pinch and zoom photo viewing, offering a whole new multi-touch gaming experience, bringing presentations to life or getting 3D modelers up close and personal with designs.

The Multi-Touch G3 system is claimed to have unlimited touch durability and PQLabs’ LED Cell Imaging technology has a tracking accuracy of 1.5mm and a touch response time of between 7 and 12ms. The electronics and scratch-resistant glass surface are held in place by a strong, light aluminum frame and offered in customized versions up to 200 inches, geared towards interactive presentation walls or broadcast situations.

Sharing content from a mobile device is as simple as placing an iPhone, Windows Mobile or Android phone on the table and it instantly synchronizes with the iTable. The technology can register shapes (such as a closed fist or open palm) and it’s not just hands and fingers that are recognized by the interface, objects placed on the iTable at CeBIT also registered.

Two of the most notable features of the Surface are its multitouch capabilities and the availability of a development SDK, both of which PQ Labs has matched (or, in the case of the SDK, plan to match soon). The number of fingers detected by the multitouch sensor is limited only by the individual software designer’s desire – the hardware itself supports as many simultaneous prods as you can throw at it.

iTable is initially being made available to corporate clients only and it’s not likely to be within the price range of the ordinary consumer’s budget. However, PQ Labs has stated that a cheaper consumer version is being developed for the near future. That is if they survive the potential patent and trademark lawsuits from Microsoft and Apple.

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