How to Make a Cheap Multitouch Pad





Introduction: How to Make a Cheap Multitouch Pad


What's a MTmini?

A Multitouch Mini, MTmini for short, is a cheap, small, portable multitouch pad. It can be used for all different purposes including: drawing, OS navigation, multitouch operation, games, entertainment, experimentation, and more. I created the Multitouch Mini to show people how something that seems complicated or 'magical' can be made simply and at low cost.

The MTmini uses the "Front Diffused Illumination" multitouch technique, with normal ambient light (infrared not required or needed) and a normal off-the-shelf webcam (IR filter can still be in place). The MTmini technique is the first step in creating a full multitouch display.

-Parts List-

  • Box (ie. Cardboard, Plastic, etc)
  • Piece of Clear, Flat Sturdy Material (ie. Glass, acrylic, plexiglas)
  • Paper (ie. printer paper, tracing paper, almost any paper)
  • Webcam (most web cameras will work)
  • Computer (dual core recommended, but not needed)
  • Optional Picture Frame

Total Cost: $5 - $50

-How's it Work and What Conditions are Necessary?-

When you place your fingers on the surface, shadows are created where your fingers are placed. The webcam sees these shadows and sends the image to the tracking software which tracks the shadows as they move on the touch surface (paper).

All you need is a room with (at least) some light; a dark room will not work. Even room lighting gives the best results. Lights shinning from multiple directions onto the multitouch pad gives better results than lights from one direction.

-More Informatio including Software, Applications and More At-

-Want to Build a Multitouch Surface?-

You can find information on how to make your own multitouch surface by viewing the How to Make a Multitouch Surface page.



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198 Discussions

hey can anyone give me the site to download the software real quick i cant get it anywhere.

its nice
tel me can i use it in my ECD labs projct i.e. on touch switch. i am looking for a simple touch. and can it be used with the PCB circuit.
PLEASE ans me

1 reply

I'm not really sure I understand what you mean. I'd recommend asking on where there's other building multitouch devices.

If you want this to be an Android tablet, no it won't work. This is for desktop computers (windows and osx).

can i use this for my tablet because its touch screen is broken and i cannot find another on to replace

please reply fast

1 reply

It won't fully replace a tablet, but you can try and see how you like it. If you need help, go to where there's others that are also building them.

Hi uhm... how do i fix this problem? "missing msvcp71.dll" I made it work before but now I don't know what to do. Thanks.

3 replies

ok that worked, now I have this "The application was unable to start correctly(0xc0150002). I already have my big box and all set, just the software is my problem.

It sounds like you also need this

Hi, you do not need an IR webcam for the multitouch pad. If you choose to project an image on the surface for a multitouch table, then you would need one. However, not for a simple multitouch pad in the instructable.



when i download the mac version, it crashes before it even opens :( anyone know a solution? (running macbook pro on osx lion)

1 reply

Maybe try an older version here:

Or newer version here:

If you need more help, ask on where there's lots of people that can answer.

Very, very cool idea!
About the height of the box: If you would put a mirror in the corner of the box, wouldn't this decrease the height a lot? (I know the mirror/plate/cam is not proper placed but it is just for the idea)
This arrangement could possibly be more comfortable as well, don't you think? open for suggestions

instructables touchscreen.png
2 replies

I mirror would work fine to shorten the distance. I didn't use on in the tutorial since it would add complexity. Give it a try though, it'll work well.



Ow okay thanks for the reply.
I'll add it to my to-do-list and when I do it, I'll make an instructable for it.
Don't expect anything soon though :P