Digital Gaming Table Quick Prototype

I’ve been fascinated by the digital gaming tables I’ve seen on the net for a while now. This weekend I got the bug and decided to see what I could do with just the stuff I had lying around the house. I already had a small Ikea table and ceiling mounted projector up in the loft, so I figured I would try a top-down projection by placing a mirror in the beam path. A quick search out in the garage turned up a donor full-length mirror*. I cut it down to a decent size and proceeded to stand on a chair, holding the mirror in place to get an idea of how it would look.

It wasn’t too bad. Obviously I would eventually need to switch to a front surface mirror because I got quite a bit of ghosting, but the image was usable. Now I just needed a way to hold the mirror in place. Another rummage through the garage and I came back with an Ikea clamp-style goose neck lamp with a teeny burned-out halogen bulb. I knew it was unlikely I’d ever get around to replacing the bulb, so the lamp was harvested also**. Here’s the result:

I have checked several times to make sure the mirror isn’t getting hot, because I don’t want the glue to give way and drop the mirror crashing down on the table. No problems so far, it’s not even getting warm. Not bad for an hour’s worth of prototyping! And when I’m done, I can just un-clip the mirror, re-focus the projector and watch movies again.

*Every time I find something useful out in the garage, it reinforces my pack-rat tendencies. By this point in my life, I think it’s hopeless.

** See? There’s another one. Good thing I saved those, instead of getting rid of them!