Turning a MacBook into a Touchscreen with $1 of Hardware @anishathalye

Anish Athalye discusses turning a MacBook into a touchscreen using only $1 of hardware and a little bit of computer vision. The proof-of-concept, dubbed “Project Sistine” was prototyped with KevinGuillermo, and Logan in about 16 hours.

Our idea was to retrofit a small mirror in front of a MacBook’s built-in webcam, so that the webcam would be looking down at the computer screen at a sharp angle. The camera would be able to see fingers hovering over or touching the screen, and we’d be able to translate the video feed into touch events using computer vision.

(This) is a proof-of-concept that turns a laptop into a touchscreen using only $1 of hardware, and for a prototype, it works pretty well! With some simple modifications such as a higher resolution webcam (ours was 480p) and a curved mirror that allows the webcam to capture the entire screen, Sistine could become a practical low-cost touchscreen system.

The prototype code is open source, released under the MIT License.


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