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      Hi Lobsters! This blog post is about Project Sistine, a hack that I worked on with @antimatter15, Guillermo Webster, and @loganengstrom. We turned a MacBook into a touchscreen using only $1 of hardware (a small mirror, some pieces of a rigid paper plate, and a door hinge).

      We built this prototype some time ago, but we never wrote up the details of how we did it, and so we thought we should share. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about the project!

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        Great work. I love the idea. Does it work on the whole screen? Looking at the pictures in the article, it seems that the areas near the left and right edges are uncovered.

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          Thanks, glad you liked our hack :)

          Yeah, the current prototype doesn’t capture the whole screen (it probably captures ~1/2 to 1/3 of the screen area), due to the positioning of our flat mirror. We tried moving it farther away so it would capture more screen area, but with the low quality webcam we were using (480p), the resolution wasn’t good enough. A higher resolution webcam might be enough to solve this problem. Another solution might be using a curved mirror.

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            Did you try with a convex mirror to capture a wider view? Will probably drive the dollar cost up - but would be interesting to see if you could find success with it.

            Great work, by the way!

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              Thanks, glad you liked our work!

              Nope, we haven’t tried a convex mirror yet. I think convex mirror + 720p camera (standard on today’s MBPs) could make this system work a lot better. It would probably complicate the math a little bit, but it should be reasonably straightforward to handle as long as the optics of the mirror aren’t too weird.

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      Love this hack!

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      This is a super cool hack. You must have developed a fantastic technique for cleaning fingerprints off the screen by now, though :)

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      This is really cool :) Fun read, thanks for sharing.

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      First of all, wow, this is awesome - it really demonstrates the power of computer vision - and second:

      Kevin, back in middle school, noticed this phenomenon and built ShinyTouch

      Uhh, what? That’s astounding. I realize all of y’all are MIT students, so clearly all of you are incredibly talented, but I just noticed this and had to point it out. I wish I’d been smart enough in middle school to make such a thing. But I didn’t have Wikipedia yet or most of what’s available online now :)