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The Simple Shoebox Sidekick is an easy way to get started building your own Trackmate system without any special tools and for under $25 (plus a webcam if you don't already have one). It's easy enough for anyone to build (a great parent/child project) and begin exploring exciting new ways to interact with your computer!

Trackmate is an open source initiative to create an inexpensive, do-it-yourself tangible tracking system. Using the project's Tracker software, any computer can recognize tagged objects and their corresponding position, rotation, and color information when placed on the imaging surface.

Using a system like the one shown here, you can track physical objects on a surface and use them to control and manipulate spatial applications on your computer. Since objects are each uniquely tagged, they can easily be mapped to particular actions, information, or relationships. See the LusidOSC project for more details about spatial applications.


Step 1: Gather All the Parts

For this version, you'll need:
- a shoebox (or photobox)
- a picture frame (roughly the size of the top of the shoebox)
- a mirror (slightly smaller than the shoebox -- it will be placed in the bottom later)
- a USB light (try to get a bright one with many small lights if possible. This one was $6 on Amazon.com.)
- a webcam (Logitech webcams seem to work best in Windows. The PS3 Eye webcam seems to work best on Mac using the Macam driver)
- some small block to hold up the picture frame (I'm using LEGOs, but pretty much anything small will work).

also (shown in the second picture), you'll need:
- a hot glue gun (to glue things together)
- scissors (optional, nice to cut holes to route wires if you like)
- screwdrivers (to remove the back of the picture frame)
- a ruler (to measure the size of things as you go)
nice i think this can also be used for a multitouch pad with some modications

About This Instructable

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Bio: Background in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Robotics, and Tangible Interfaces from MIT. Currently working at Fiddlewax to create new musical instruments. Other projects I've ... More »
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