"We have a high requirement to the throw ratio of the projection, but also the focus, because some of the projectors they just don’t allow you to focus on, let’s say 80-90 cm distance. So, the projector that we use from projectiondesign is really incredible in terms of its size and the features it has. You can adjust everything there."
Günter Geiger, CEO at Reactable
The Reactable was first presented at the International Music Conference 2005 in Barcelona. “Reactable is an electronic musical instrument with a simple and intuitive design. Through its visual tangible interface the musician is able to connect with his music on several levels creating a richer experience for himself and his audience by hearing, seeing and touching the sound”, explains Günter Geiger, CEO at reactable.
The Reactable Experience is the latest model, shown for the first time at the projectiondesign booth at InfoComm 2013. Combining state of the art technology and simple and intuitive designed features enables anybody who uses it to explore the world of music and sound creation in a truly engaging way. Icelandic singer Björk used an early model on her Volta tour and the Reactable has received several awards, including in 2008 the Prix Ars Electronica and two D&AD Yellow Pencil Awards.
Its circular multi-touch interface allows the instrument to be played by several people simultaneously, inviting the visitors to share the experience and naturally engage in collaborative compositions. “Despite being like a nice piece of futuristic design, we try to include several concepts of how we think that the instrument of the future should be”, explains Geiger. Reactable's design is so intuitive that it can be enjoyed from the very first minute by a casual player. But at the same time its richness allows never ending creative possibilities for experienced musicians.
State-of-the-art technology and concept
“The Reactable project started here in Barcelona at the Pompeu Fabra University. Our group is working at one of the biggest music technology groups in Europe […], just doing investigation music technology”, says Geiger. The computer vision software developed with the Reactable has today become one of the standards in tangible interaction.
Rear projection is key to the Reactable interface and throw distance, positioning and focus range are some of the major challenges with projection on this system.
Technically the system works with a back projection and a camera. A camera detects objects which are on the table, and then transmits the information of the position and the rotation of the objects to a computer. The computer then generates the sound and additional graphics. Graphics are further outputted through the projector located just beneath the objects on the table. “The idea is that one can see the music at the same time as you hear it, that you can touch the music and touch the objects”, says Geiger.
Overcoming the challenges of rear projection
“The challenge in terms of having a back projection screen, which is […] round, and basically integrated completely in the table […], we have a very, very short distance from the screen to the projector. So, we have a high requirement to the throw ratio of the projection. We can’t really freely choose where we put the projector. It has to be more or less in the center below the table. It is not only about the throw ratio so that we can get the image size, but also about the focus, because some of the projectors they just don’t allow you to focus on, let’s say 80-90cm distance”, explains Geiger.
“So, the projector that we use from projectiondesign is really incredible in terms of its size and the features it has. You can adjust everything there. I mean incredible focus range for example, you can adjust the vertical shift; it has a very good contrast, which is also important for our application; because it is a back projection system you need a real bright projector in there. We’re constantly looking for projectors, which are small enough to build them into our units […]. At some point if the projectors are too big, it just gets in the way, of whereas the projectiondesign projectors doesn’t do that actually. It helps us to assemble the things in the way that they are really optimal for our system”, concludes Geiger.
Featuring the F22 sx+ projector from projectiondesign the projector boasts an incredible performance in a compact size allowing inexperienced and experienced musicians to explore music in ways never done before with the Reactable.
Reactable is a project developed by Sergi Jordà, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Günter Geiger and Marcos Alonso.