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TISCH Framework - Release 3.0 "Back From The Dead"

"Tangible Interactive Surfaces for Collaboration between Humans"

The TISCH framework supports cross-platform development of novel UI applications. For details on the underlying architecture and source code documentation, please visit the Sourceforge website:


  • support for multitouch, tangible interfaces, full-body interaction...

  • ready-to-use user interface widgets based on OpenGL

  • reconfigurable, hardware-independent gesture recognition engine

  • support for widely used (move, scale, rotate..) as well as custom gestures

  • hardware drivers for FTIR, DI, Wiimote, Kinect..

  • native use of popular TUIO 2.0 transport format

  • cross-platform: Linux, MacOS X, Windows (32 and 64 bit)

  • cross-language: C++ with bindings for C#, Java, Python

Directory Layout

libtisch-3.0/ calibd/ Calibration Layer drivers/ Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) gispl/ Gestural Interface Specification Layer (gesture recognizer) libs/ various helper libraries & wrappers for C#, Java, Python scripts/ build scripts widgets/ OpenGL-based Widget Layer

Quick Start

If you only have a mouse and want to give it a try:

1. run "demo -m" (enables mouse emulation mode)

If you have a camera-based input device, e.g. an FTIR table or a Kinect:

1. run "touchd -V -c example.xml" (this is the most basic mode, just tracks bright blobs)
2. run "calibtool -f" and follow the instructions (this is necessary only once)
3. run "calibd", if not already running
4. run "demo"

Notes about demo programs

All of the demo programs (picview, slideshow, graph, demo) accept '-m' as first parameter, switching them to mouse emulation mode. picview and slideshow take a list of PNG images to display as additional parameters.

In mouse emulation mode, you can move elements with click-and-drag. Rotate them by clicking any mouse button and scrolling the mouse wheel. Scale them by additionally pressing CTRL while using the wheel.

NOTE: if you are running an X server with XInput2 support (commonly known as MPX), you can actually use multiple mice to emulate multitouch fairly well.

Building & Requirements

Windows (tested with Visual Studio 2010 on Windows 7)

- Windows SDK 7.0A or greater (for DirectShow camera input)
- freeglut 2.6.0   or greater (for OpenGL graphics)
- freenect 0.1.2   or greater (OpenKinect library, for Kinect input)

You need to have the Windows SDK & freeglut 2.6.0 or greater installed. By
default, the include paths point to a "libs/freeglut/" directory and to the
default Windows SDK install directory. Optionally, you can also include
libfreenect in "libs/freenect/". Pre-built binaries for freeglut and
freenect are provided in 2 ZIP archives in libs/.

If you installed your libraries somewhere else, you may need to adjust these
paths. To do so,
- open libtisch.sln in Visual Studio. 
- Go to "Property Explorer".
- Expand the tree until	you see the "common" property page and open it.
- Click on "User Macros" and enter the correct path for "freeglut".

The same applies to "winsdk", which should point to the location where your
Windows SDK (formerly Platform SDK) is installed.

Then, just select the Debug or Release config and build the solution. All libs 
and binaries should be created in the appropriate output directory. Note: for
Debug builds, the packaged binary libs are unsuitable, as they were compiled
as Release builds. 

Linux (tested with gcc 4.5.2 on Ubuntu 11.04 and gcc 4.6.3 on Ubuntu 12.04) MacOS X (tested with gcc 4.0 on MacOS X 10.5 and gcc 4.2 on MacOS X 10.6)

- freeglut 2.4.0 or greater (Linux only - use "apt-get install freeglut3-dev")
- libdc1394 2.0.0 or greater (optional - for Firewire cameras)

If you want to use a Firewire camera, install libdc1394 v2.0.0 or greater
first. Take care that pkg-config knows about it. For Linux, you should also
have installed a GLUT library (preferably freeglut 2.6.0 or greater) in your
system include/library paths.

Then, simply run "make all && make install" to build all binaries and put 
them into build/{bin,lib}/. Don't forget to add the lib directory to the 
library path (LD_LIBRARY_PATH on Linux, DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH on MacOS X). You 
can also run "make" without arguments to review the other available parameters.

If you wish to install the binaries to a system directory such as /usr/local,
set the DESTDIR (installation directory) and PREFIX (runtime prefix) variables
when running make, e.g. as "make DESTDIR=/tmp/ PREFIX=/usr/local/ install".

The default method for camera access is through libdc1394 with Video4Linux as
fallback. Note that camera access has been tested with several different types
of Logitech QuickCams (both PWC- and UVC-based USB types) and with Pointgrey
FireflyMV Firewire cameras.

Known Issues

  • Documentation is lacking - check the Sourceforge Wiki for more information.
  • The example configuration files are rather convoluted.
  • The graphical frontends also accept TUIO 1.0 data, but the object types may or may not match. Check the Wiki at for details.


TISCH - Tangible Interactive Surfaces for Collaboration between Humans




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