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Tangible Engine is the first object recognition software package for projected capacitive touch displays. The Tangible Engine SDK allows developers to connect events within applications to physical objects placed on the surface of a touch table.
Q: How does Tangible Engine work?

Tangible Engine is a software authoring environment that works with Ideum's multitouch tables (sizes 43", 49", 55", 65", 86" and dual 49"). The software can recognize "touch" patterns that are created with 3D printed conductive materials. The geometric touch patterns, placed on the bottom of a "puck" or "totem" which are identified by the Tangible Engine software allowing programmers to connect events with the appearance, movement, or rotation of these tangible objects.

Q: What are the technical requirements for Tangible Engine?

Tangible Engine has been developed specifically for Ideum touch tables. It works with Windows 10 & 11 Professional, which comes standard on Ideum touch tables.

Q: Does Tangible Engine work on every Ideum multitouch table?

Tanbile Engine works on every flat-oriented Ideum touch table with the exception of 75" 8k Pro (although support is expected in the near future). Tangible Engine has also not been explored yet on our new Reader Rails. Ideum's Pro, Platform, Colossus, and Pico touch tables support Tangible Engine. In addition, our Inline frameless large-format touch displays (if laid flat) support Tangible Engine. Ideum touch tables sold before 2016, generally do not support Tangible Engine, contact our Sales or Support groups for details.

Q: How much does Tangible Engine cost?

Tangible Engine is free with the purchase of three qualified Ideum touch tables or displays. It is also available for purchase for orders with less than three units.

Q: Can custom tangible objects be created?

Yes. We’ve created a variety of different tangible objects out of all sorts of different materials. As long as the base of the object contains the conductive pattern, just about any object can be placed on top. We’ve developed tangibles using acrylic, wood, 3D printed objects, and other materials.

Q: Does Tangible Engine support rotation?

Yes. Tangible Engine supports rotation and it can be used for tangible user interfaces. Tangibles can be used as dials that bring up menus or support other functions. Tangibles used for rotation need to be non-symmetric for a full range of motion.

Q: Does Tangible Engine support multiple displays?

Yes. As long as the displays are connected to the same computer system (and all have touch). We’ve tested support for up to four displays.

Q: Which programming languages does Tangible Engine support for authoring tangible user interfaces?

The Tangible Engine SDK has support and examples for Unity3D and Node.js. Since Tangible Engine v3 has service-based architecture, it is possible to create new bindings that will work with additional languages and frameworks.

Q: Are there examples of exhibits and installations that use Tangible Engine?

Ideum’s Creative Services group has built a number of different installations for a wide variety of Fortune 500 and Museum clients.

Interactive Coffee Experience for Starbucks

Bob Hope’s USO tours for the World War II museum

Interactive Wine Tasting for JCB Wines

An Interactive History Lesson for Planes of Fames Air Museum

Can it Kill You? Exploring Pathogens

Interactive Wine Bar for MSC Cruise ship

Q: How long has Tangible Engine been available? What is the current version?

Tangible Engine has been a product since June of 2016 with the release of Tangible Engine 1.0. The release of Tangible Engine 1.5 in the spring of 2017 and the release of Tangible Engine 2.0 in the summer of 2018. In the summer of 2019, Ideum announced Tangible Engine Support for the Colossus 86" touch table. Version 2.5 was released in December of 2019 with added support for development in Node.js. Version 2.6 was released in June of 2020. Version 2.7 was released in April of 2022. Version 2.8 was released in January of 2023. Now, version 3.0 will be released in June of 2024, which includes a wider variety of pre-trained tangible profiles for all of our many sets of tangibles.

Q: What are Smart Tangibles?

Smart Tangibles have embedded electronics and LED lights that expand opportunities for interaction. Smart Tangibles have Bluetooth, Wifi, accelerometer, sound and vibration features that can be programmed to add additional functionality and feedback. Ideum created a demo of Smart Tangibles in the fall of 2018.

Q: Where can I learn more about Tangible Engine and Tangible User Interface (TUI)?

Ideum has published a white paper entitled, The Evolution of Tangible User Interfaces on Touch Tables.