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.


rana123parikshit (author)2017-06-21

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

Mexica72 made it! (author)2015-01-04

There it is (without the paper on first pic) as part of TOYBOX that I made for Uni, which is a control surface using an IKEA desk, conductive paint, conventional knobs, buttons and switches and of course the touch screen which was eventually modified by a fellow student (himself and another student I worked together with created the sounds and visuals, whilst I built the physical controller [TOYBOX] in the pics) to run using Reactable for the collaborative performance I built it for. The screen controlled the volume and panning and when the fiducial with the reactible image on was twisted it turned up or down the bass! Alas on the night we had problems running it at the same time as the main control board due to USB hub problems so it was not actually used hence the it covered on the 2nd picture :( Once I've finished Uni I will do more with the screen to see what I can make it do. Many thanks for the instructible!!

shikhatomar (author)2012-10-07

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

cerupcat (author)shikhatomar2012-10-07

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

cerupcat (author)2012-08-18

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

sarveshs1999 (author)2012-08-17

can i use the logitech quickcam go i dont have any other webcam

please reply fast

cerupcat (author)sarveshs19992012-08-18

Yes, it should work.

sarveshs1999 (author)cerupcat2012-08-18

should work or definitely it works?????

sarveshs1999 (author)2012-08-17

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

please reply fast

cerupcat (author)sarveshs19992012-08-18

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.

arjay1491 (author)2012-04-25

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.

cerupcat (author)arjay14912012-04-25

Try this

arjay1491 (author)cerupcat2012-04-25

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.

cerupcat (author)arjay14912012-04-25

It sounds like you also need this

JerryBYong (author)2012-04-22

Hi there! Quick question, do I need a IR webcam for this?

cerupcat (author)JerryBYong2012-04-22

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.



djslipmat123 (author)2012-01-23

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

cerupcat (author)djslipmat1232012-01-24

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.

Duskeniek (author)2012-01-23

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

cerupcat (author)Duskeniek2012-01-23

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.



Duskeniek (author)cerupcat2012-01-24

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

blaz!ng (author)2012-01-18

when i go to calibrate and press the start calibrate button it does nothing.

arjay1491 (author)2011-10-07

mine crashes when i click next camera. at first it worked but after that everytime i try it crashes. can anyone help me pls?

cerupcat (author)arjay14912011-10-09

Delete the config.xml inside the downloaded CCV folder and try again.

arjay1491 (author)cerupcat2011-10-15

cool :D it works now, thanks

alexw2150 (author)2011-08-21

I can't get TUIO to work, I've erased most of the errors but on the last line:

make: g++: \%home\%alexw\%Desktop\%ccv-1.4-lin-bin\\

the makefile compiler says

Makefile:65: *** target pattern contains no `%'. Stop.

Please help!

tinker234 (author)2011-05-23

help me and my freind spent 48 hours working on the program nothing just a bit of help also if the this works could i project the image onto the surface

Element1604 (author)2010-08-25

Can you still use a built in webcam while running this? And are you going to do another instuctable detailing how to use IR in combo with a projection? ~thanks in advance

cerupcat (author)Element16042011-02-14

There's instructables about combing this with projection and I've also started a how-to article here:

cerupcat (author)Element16042010-08-25

Yes you can still use a built in webcam. I'm working on doing another tutorial on how to use IR and a projection combo. It'll probably be a youtube video because an instructable. I recommend you subscribe to my youtube videos if you'd like to be notified.

Tomcat94 (author)2010-07-06

What about us Mac users? Will we be able to do this?

cerupcat (author)Tomcat942010-07-06

Yup - runs on mac too!

Tomcat94 (author)cerupcat2010-07-07

How so? Can you elaborate?

cerupcat (author)Tomcat942010-07-07

The software needed runs on mac, windows, and linux; therefore, it works on mac. :)

lockpick (author)cerupcat2010-10-18

All the software will run on macs?

cerupcat (author)lockpick2011-02-14

Yes, all the software will run on mac.

lockpick (author)2010-10-18

Does this work with other webcams

cerupcat (author)lockpick2011-02-14

Yes, it works with most webcams.

koebwil (author)2010-04-13

I have been trying like crazy to get this to work on my computer, I run ubuntu and I can't get any of these programs to install.  On top of that, the camera I got (logitech c120) doesn't seem to work with ubuntu at all, I'd appreciate any help at all

chupitaz (author)2010-02-06

This software multitouch is incredible Cerupcat . How you have so much control? How you configure your camera , I built my own multitouch but i dont have control at all. I dont know if you can help me.. sorry for my english

dutchboy12 (author)2010-01-30

 the software sucks i had windows vista pc there it didn't work i now have windows 7 pc and it don't work i have tried windows xp also it also didn't work =.=
and i tryed tbeta that's even better it won't do anything else than crash it doesn't even start lol
think the software is kinda old

cerupcat (author)dutchboy122010-01-30

The software doesn't suck; it actually works quite well.

If you're having problems, it's best to ask for help. You have to be a bit more specific and say exactly what the errors you're getting, what kind of camera you're using, etc.

You should be using CCV (tbeta) which is not old by any means. If you need help, feel free to ask.

metal43v3r (author)2010-01-19

 i have a problem i made this staff but my  computer already have a webcam so i can't use it what should i do???

maxpower49 (author)2008-12-17

can you use ir if you want

cerupcat (author)maxpower492008-12-17

yup. If you use IR, you can use a projection on the surface.

willrandship (author)cerupcat2009-11-14

IR is starting to sound infinitely more useful in this project, then you could have it be your screen.

mikebruse (author)willrandship2009-12-07

That's the idea behind FTIR, you can use a modified webcam and a projector.

jamesking (author)2009-09-01

Can the author contact me ?Or someone who can design the software can also contact me: thanks

mikebruse (author)2009-07-31

What song did you use for the video?

UltraSquirrel (author)2009-07-19

And would it be possible to use a pen instead of your finger. To keep down size even more? I'm planning to use it for strategy games, but as I might have mentioned I do not wan't to have it as high as yours. And by reducing the height you also need to reduce the screen size. My camera have a Fisheye lens but still. So to point precise a pen would be good...

About This Instructable




More by cerupcat:How to Make a Cheap Multitouch Pad
Add instructable to: