Uni creates 18-screen HD digital paint wall

Think your triple-display setup is pretty good? How about 18 displays, all touch-enabled?

Engadget reports that students at the University of Illinois Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) in Chicago have created just that, resulting in a 20-foot electronic canvas able to react to 32 touches simultaneously.

The wall is made up entirely of HD panels, each with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

According to the university's website, the EVL aims to build a partnership between artists and computer scientists. It was that partnership that resulted in the touch-enabled wall, with touch capabilities not included in the original project concept. A group of five students spent their summer making the wall touch-enabled, with one creating an iPad application that allows people to ''paint'' on the virtual wall.

Graduate computer science student Arthur Nishimoto explained the process of making the wall touch-enabled to a reporter at the university's Medill School of Journalism.

Having already worked on EVL project TacTile, a touch-enabled table composed of one HD screen, Mr. Nishimoto said he was well-placed to serve as an advisor on the touch-wall project.

He said the wall uses infrared light that is emitted and detected to recognize touches. When a finger - or any other object - crosses the infrared light rays, the wall detects a touch. Mr Nishimoto has reportedly also created games that can be played across all 18 displays. Touch overlays for the project were supplied by Silicon Valley-based PQ Labs.

Fine arts masters student JD Pirtle is leading the creative side of the project, and created the iPad application that allows users to realise the wall's potential as a giant canvas. At the moment, only one iPad can be connected via WiFi at a time, though Mr Pirtle said he hoped to make multiple connections possible in the future.

Image Credit: Engadget

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17 Comments

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If you look closely, you can see that someone has started drawing a person in the fourth column, head and shoulders in the middle, torso on the bottom screen.

Too bad the photo is a snooze fest! Come on, put something interesting on those screens. The only thing we can tell by the picture is that the brightness is different for each screen... blah

Ahhh... my Alma mater. Got my CS (Computer Science) degree from U of I's College of Engineering in 2001. But, I went to the main campus in Urbana-Champaign.

Panda X said,
It'd be better if all the screens matched in brightness and color. That kind of inconsistency bothers me.

Yeah... it looks like like a freakin' chess board

We've got one half that size at work (a 3x3 array) and the heat from it is intense! I've stood next to it once to dry off from the rain.

Panda X said,
It'd be better if all the screens matched in brightness and color. That kind of inconsistency bothers me.

Yeah, it shows how inconsistent the manufacturing process is...its a shame too

Panda X said,
It'd be better if all the screens matched in brightness and color. That kind of inconsistency bothers me.

It can be difficult to match two monitors side-by-side that are the same make and model

PsyOpWarlord said,
If each panel is 1920x1080 and there are 18 panels 6 wide x 3 high wouldn't the resolution be 11520x3240

Let me try to play Half-Life 2 on that thing, just let me try.

Wow, that's pretty intense. I've seen large touch screen wall things but never ones with support for 32 points of touch. However... couldn't they at least calibrate them or something... the dark one and the two light ones are really freaking me out

That's pretty cool but I reckon it would get smudgy pretty quickly (plus how do you reach the top panels?)

iPad connectivity is sweet though.

AnthoWin said,
That's pretty cool but I reckon it would get smudgy pretty quickly (plus how do you reach the top panels?)

iPad connectivity is sweet though.

I doubt it'll be that smudgy. Think of it as a Wacom tablet, you can use a special glove which will reduce any and all smudges from oils. Given how high the desks are and the stand in the front of the 4-5 panel I'm sure a normal sized adult could reach the top with ease by, but I don't see the point of needing to reach the very top edge of the screen though anyways.