TouchBridge was an active tangible marker system for optical based multi-touch surfaces. It built on a previously proposed method of marker tracking based upon the augmentation of physical objects with IR Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). In this previous method, the LEDs transmitted a modulated signal that was tracked by a camera; this signal was able to transmit a unique ID for each object in addition to a small amount of state information. However, this system was physically limited in terms of bandwidth as a camera was used to receive the modulated signal.

Our prototype utilised modulated Infrared light to provide a bi-directional communication channel between objects and the surface. A separate transceiver replaced the camera, allowing for the reliable tracking of the position and orientation of 16 uniquely identiļ¬ed physical objects at an update rate equal to the camera frame rate. Our system could also transmit information about the state of each object at a higher data rate than previous systems. It therefore presented the potential for Tangible User Interfaces that responded to complex manipulations of controls embedded within physical objects.

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