CEW 02 Mesa Mundi Shows Multitouch Solutions

Mesa Mundi Inc. (Sharon, MA) was showing its multitouch displays at the recent Customer Engagement World (CEW) in New York November 5-6. These displays are targeted at both commercial applications such as multi-person game playing.

I had a chance to talk to Tobias Drewry, founder (along with his wife), CEO and President of Mesa Mundi. His background is gaming and he originally developed the multitouch displays for his own use and the use of other gamers. He founded the company in 2008 and incorporated it in 2010. Currently the company is funded by an Angel investor but Drewry says they are looking at the VC market now for future funding.

The displays are self-contained, with the company using 1080p (1920 x 1080) glass from Samsung in size ranges from 40” to 75” for the professional Monolith series. Various configurations of the Monolith series will support from 2 – 40 simultaneous touches. The consumer oriented tabletop versions come in sizes of 32″ – 60″ screen diagonals with 2 – 32 independent touches. The multitouch system is IR-based. According to Drewry, the demo unit at CEW was a 10 simultaneous touch system. All panels are protected by cover glass so you don’t actually touch the LCD screen itself. Drewry added that the company is working on a multitouch system based on Frustrated Total Internal Reflection (F-TIR) that will actually image the touches based on TIR inside this cover glass. One advantage this system will offer over the current IR system is the ability to make a totally flat table top display, rather than the recessed system used by the current IR touch system.

The output from the Mesa Mundi multitouch systems can be used directly by Windows 8, Drewry told me. He said that with a little more effort, it can also be used with Mac OS systems. The Monolith series brochure adds that it works with Windows 7, Linux and Android, presumably with a little more effort or third-party multitouch software. The demo unit at CEW was running Windows 8. It operated smoothly with no noticeable lag time and had no problems with multiple touches.

Both units at CEW were table-top units with knock-down plywood frames. This design is not only easy to transport to trade shows, it represents the original version of the frame developed for gamers. Drewry said these systems were ideal for classic multi-person games such as chess and checkers. The Monolith series, not on display, has steel frames and is oriented more toward professional applications.

While Mesa Mundi started with a gamer orientation, Drewry said that currently sales are split about 65% – 70% for professional applications and 30% – 35% gamers and other consumer applications. In the future, the pendulum may swing back in the gamer direction – Drewry says consumer rather that professional applications are what the venture capitalists are interested in. As consumer products, the Mesa Mundi systems are affordable. For example, the 42” 32 touch system, including the white birch coffee table frame, display and touch system, is priced at $2,092. – Matthew Brennesholtz