Ubi and Kinect turn any tables and walls into touchscreens

Startup Ubi has opened up sales for its software that can convert any surface into a touchscreen.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The standard projector and whiteboard setup can be made a lot more interactive with a new Windows 8 application that allows Kinect for Windows, in tandem with a projector, to turn any surface into a touch display.

Ubi, a Seattle-based startup which joined Microsoft's Kinect Accelerator programme, has opened up orders for the app, which takes the Windows 8 touch interface beyond device displays and puts it on tables and walls.

Until now, Ubi had been testing its technology in a closed trials with Microsoft and Intel, which are using them in conference rooms, along with 48 other organisation, including US construction outfit, The Walsh Group, and California Polytechnic State University.

Turning almost any surface into a touchscreen requires a Windows 8 PC, the Kinect for Windows sensor, and a projector. So long as an app is made for touch on Windows 8, it can be used with Ubi.

To convert a table into a touch display, the Kinect sensor would face downwards from the ceiling. On a wall, the Kinect sensor needs be placed between one to two metres from the surface. Ubi's "vision engine" detects a person's finger or hand in relation to the surface.   

Ubi pricing starts at $149 for its basic edition that offers one simultaneous touch point and supports displays up to 45 inches. From there, the professional version that supports 100 inch display and one touch point costs $379. The business edition supports two touch and costs $799, while an enterprise version that supports 20 touch points costs $1,499.

Assuming the organisation already has a projector and the cost of a Kinect is around $250, turning any surface into a touch display can be done for around $400.

Ubi's pitch to customers is that they don't need to buy a large touch display to improve interactive communications and besides conference rooms, the company points to uses in lecture halls, home gaming and retail displays.

"By making it possible to turn any surface into a touch screen, we eliminate the need for screen hardware and thereby reduce the cost and extend the possibilities of enabling interactive displays in places where they were not previously feasible — such as on walls in public spaces,” Anup Chathoth co-Founder and CEO of Ubi Interactive wrote in a blogpost

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