A tabletop system can facilitate multi-user collaboration in a variety of settings, including small meetings, group work, and education and training exercises. The ability to identify the users touching the table and their positions can promote collaborative work among participants, so methods have been studied that involve attaching sensors to the table, chairs, or to the users themselves. An effective method of recognizing user actions without placing a burden on the user would be some type of visual process, so the development of a method that processes multi-touch gestures by visual means is desired. This paper describes the development of a multi-touch tabletop system using infrared image recognition for user position identification and presents the results of touch-gesture recognition experiments and a system-usability evaluation. Using an inexpensive FTIR touch panel and infrared light, this system picks up the touch areas and the shadow area of the user’s hand by an infrared camera to establish an association between the hand and table touch points and estimate the position of the user touching the table. The multi-touch gestures prepared for this system include an operation to change the direction of an object to face the user and a copy operation in which two users generate duplicates of an object. The system-usability evaluation revealed that prior learning was easy and that system operations could be easily performed.
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