MultiTouch MultiMedia - a proposal for Maker Faire 2007

Who / What / How / Why


Tim Thompson,, 408-292-4245


MultiTouch is the ability of an input controller to detect multiple fingers simultaneously. Multitouch input devices are just starting to be seen in the real world, rather than just in the movies (the most famous being "Minority Report"). MAKE magazine has even declared them the The Future of Interfaces.

For Maker Faire 2007, I propose to demonstrate a variety of graphical, musical, video, and browser-based applications that I've developed that show some of the unique capabilities of use of MultiTouch controllers. Below is a picture of the custom controller I've built containing 3 Fingerworks iGesture pads (each capable of detecting multiple fingers simultaneously with excellent resolution and responsiveness), and a JLCooper CS32 with lots of sliders and buttons for additional control.

The demonstrations will include:


The custom software I've developed for these applications uses a combination of Python (a general-purpose scripting language), KeyKit (a special-purpose language for MIDI which I wrote for myself back in the 1990's), and VVVV (a system for video processing, using FreeFrame plugins).

I'll have detailed descriptions of the implementation of the applications and the tools for graphics and music that I've used, most of which are freely available on the web. Some of the music will be algorithmically generated, using KeyKit. Depending on the interest of the Faire-goers, I can discuss anything from the low-level programming to high-level algorithms and applications, and there's no doubt that Faire-goers will have lots of ideas of their own about how the applications can/should work.

The MultiTouch controller will be freely accessible to Faire-goers - the goal of the demo is to be completely audience-controlled. A projector will be displaying the graphics on a screen or wall. Small speakers will be used for the sound (medium/focused volume).


With the upcoming release of the Apple iPhone (which has a multi-touch display), there will be significant interest in this type of interface. I'm currently using a multitouch controller that is no longer manufactured (and occasionally available on ebay), but there are open-source toolkits which hobbyists can use to develop these kind of multi-finger interfaces fairly cheaply (e.g. ). One of my goals is to make more people aware of the unique capabilities (and FUN!) of multifinger interfaces, and provide information about how they can create their own and experiment with them. I believe that multitouch controllers are particularly and uniquely powerful in artistic applications, which is the focus of my work and demonstration.