South Africa Tourism has brought its amazing giant touch table display to Europe, previously demonstrated only twice in South Africa.
It was on show for the first time at the International French Travel Market in Paris a few weeks ago.
The table looks and feels like a giant Apple iPad. Eight people can interact simultaneously with it, while others can watch.
The display is split into eight individual interactive areas, or it can be used to show full screen videos. When in full screen mode, the table uses built-in audio with sub-woofer speakers to play surround sound.
The giant display is in fact made of four classic flat panel displays attached to one other, covered with a single large glass layer.
An infra red frame around the edges can track the position of up to 32 fingers with good accuracy. Unfortunately leaving bags or leaflets on the table however blocks the signals and causes malfunctions.
The custom-built software runs on three CPU units stored underneath the table itself. The software can be upgraded or changed on the fly and reloaded into the table via USB. The table is also connected via wifi to a remote server.
All components can be disassembled for easy shipping, and then reassembled at a new location.
The system allows users to browse interactive maps with tour descriptions, images and live videos. It uses an innovative "bubbles" interface: a bubble tree can be rotated in 3D, and each bubble can be opened to view the details.
Users can store interesting destinations and activities into a basket, and then enter their email address to immediately receive a message with links to all marked items on Southafrica.net.
The user interface is not only multilingual, but it also supports full product customization for each source market. According to William Price, the South Africa Tourism head of Interactive, who brought the idea to life, every market is interested in different themes and products.
The table configuration makes it simple to highlight what people expect to see first.
Who made it?
The table was jointly developed for the tourism organisation by South African companies PixelProject and DigitalFabric.
The idea was to club together classic non-touch flat panels to create a surface of potentially any size, using simple infra red tracking for fingers.
A larger table would, of course, create much more complex processing for finger tracking, but a 2x or 3x longer surface is easy to imagine. The teams are now working on vertical banner displays using touch sensitive films by 3M.
Here is a clip:
NB: The giant touch table will be in Europe for WTM 2011 (London, Nov 7 to 10) and ITB 2012 (Berlin, March 7 to 9).