Virtual beads are projected onto the surface of the tilting table. As viewers tilt the tabletop, the beads roll towards its lowest corner. The direction and angle of tilt also generate sounds which provide musical accompaniment for the rolling beads. A Max/Jitter patch was created to manipulate the video and sound in real-time based on the sensor input.
In this work, real world physics (gravity) is applied to the relationship between the balls and the tabletop, producing a witty parallel between the real and virtual, and providing viewers with a fun, playful, and sometimes surprising interaction. This piece was exhibited in a 2003 show at NYU's ITP, during which we were able to get feedback from a large number of visitors. Many of them suggested that this application could be implemented as a game, perhaps in which players try to roll the beads into a virtual hole or around a maze displayed on the table. In this case, users would have a specific goal to accomplish in their interaction.
Tilting table uses an accelerometer (a sensor for measuring gravity) for detecting the movement of the tabletop in response to user actions. The accelerometer communicates the tilt-angle values to a PIC micro-controller, which then delivers those values to a computer via either MIDI or serial communication. Computer-driven real-time images are transformed by the input and displayed on the tilting table surface by a ceiling-mounted projector.
Mechanically, differently from the use of a spring-joint in "Cross-Being_Todd," the joint for this tabletop exploits a ball-joint. These two joints have different traits: with the ball-joint, the tabletop remains in the last position that the user left it; the spring, because of its resiliency, returns the tabletop screen to its original position after the user’s interaction.