by Mick

Was ist INTOI?

INTOI explores a new way of user interaction with circular shaped recognitions areas to switch tools or to change settings. The system utilises screen back projection, hand tracking, and Anoto technology.

INTOI took part at the world biggest programming and software-engineering competition - the Microsoft Imagine Cup. The title for this year is Imagine a world with better education, which is what INTOI basically does. Currently in the top 6, this entry will compete against the other 5 finalist in the Interface Design category in Seoul, Korea in August.

INTOI won the Austrian competition in the Software Design-category.

Watch the video and then read on

Technical Details

An aluminum frame holds the rear projection surface consisting of two acrylic panels with a back-light foil in-between. The panel in the back is an approximately 6mm thick acrylic to ensure a robust writing surface. The front side cover is an only 2mm thin acrylic that protects the projection film from being scratched. Behind the flipchart panel a PAL infrared camera is mounted for hand feature tracking described in a later paragraph. In order to get acceptable tracking results, infrared spotlights are assembled in the front of the projection wall.

Anoto pen technology

The wireless pen devices keep track of their movements on an Anoto paper, which contains a unique dot pattern almost invisible to the human eye. By using an embedded infrared camera, the pen's image processing unit can localize its position exactly. The collected information is streamed to computer via Bluetooth technology. The high resolution Anoto pattern is printed on a special back-light foil in order to get a high contrast projection as well as accurate pen tracking results.

Multi-user interaction

INTOI allows up to 8 users to work on the same application at the same time. All of the Anoto pens have unique IDs in order to keep track of each user's drawings. Pen settings such as color, stroke width and the currently selected tool are stored for each pen separately.

Hand interaction

The infinite sized drawing area of the INTOI application can be panned by sliding one hand over the projection surface. Alternatively, using the second hand enables the user to zoom in and out of the current page by moving the hands either apart or together. The infrared light from the spots in the front are reflected by the user directly onto the semi-transparent surface. Whenever the user touches the panel, the hand produces a shadow that can be captured by the camera behind the wall.

Direct-touch paradigm

In our approach we tried to develop a setup that hides the whole technology from the end user. Using a pen is a very common and natural way to write or draw on a sheet of paper. Moving a page on a desk is usually done by hand, without using a pen. In order to follow this natural model, the INTOI application uses pen devices for sketching, while the infinite sized drawing area is panned and zoomed by hand gestures. Combining the described functionality to a powerful presentation tool is what makes our approach different from former digital whiteboards.