Mac|Life’s concept iDesk seems plausible and very expensive. In their concept, Mac|Life images a desk with a multitouch display and bluetooth connectivity. Phones, laptops, and other devices when placed on the desk can have their data accessed and transferred though on desk icons.
It’s a striking design, having your desk be one giant interactive flat panel display. The technology to do this certainly seems ready. Giant retina displays, and multitouch controls exist. (Well retina displays exist, scaling them up to 6 feet by 4 feet, maybe not.) The real problem seems to be more of software rather than hardware. You don’t even really need one display like that. Simply more intuitive graphical and tactile syncing with current separate displays would be nice. I imagine transferring documents from desktop or laptop computer to a tablet by touching the screen displaying the document with spread open fingertips, making a fist (think grabbing) and then touching the screen of the destination device. Of course thinking of local device storage is so 20th century. Everything is going cloud with continuous syncing.
Alex Schlegel‘s Day Table uses a photoresistor located in one corner, and eight ShiftBars (for a total of 24 channels) connected to an Arduino to play back the sunlight that fell on the table during the course of the day.
Macetech built this table to demo their shiftbrite RGB LEDs and a Seeeduino. It’s a 9 x 9 grid, but since each LED has its own controller, the cost quickly climbs.
While not a table, Dave Clausen‘s LED Cylinder is a good resource for discussing how to wire up set of addressable RGB LEDs, along with some good resources to parts and the like.
Recently I’ve been thinking about a LED displays. Originally, I was thinking about a full 640 x 480 display, but after doing the math, that idea quickly shrank to a more manageable 32 x 24 display. While part of me thinks that having one of these tables would be interesting, I can’t help but think that in reality they’d just be ugly and too bright.
I started to think about LED displays because my “coffee table” (It’s actually more an end table.) has a glass top and holes cut out in the back for electrical cables to pass through. What I really want is a multitouch display like either of these twoguys are building. However, a multitouch is still pretty hacky and more DIY than I want right now. I like the idea of owning one of these tables, I just don’t want to build it.