Ideum announced a Windows-powered table with a 55-inch screen that responds to as many as 32 simultaneous touches. The MT55 Platform has 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, an Intel Core i5-560M processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD (solid state disk), HDMI input/output, and hidden USB 2.0 ports, the company says.
Aimed at museums, research labs, schools, tradeshows, and other commercial users, Ideum’s MT55 Platform is a lower-cost successor to the MT55 HD the New Mexico-based company introduced in April. That model, now christened the MT55 Pro, has an HP Core i7-powered computer integrated into its pedestal and is priced from $21,950, according to the company.

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The MT55 Platform begins at a more affordable $17,950, has an Intel Core i5-560M processor (clocked at 2.66GHz), and does without the dual hard disk drives and built-in UPS of the MT55 Pro. (There’s also no longer any mention of a discrete graphics card, which is an Nvidia Quadro Pro on the MT55 Pro, or of the senior model’s Bose speakers.)

Ideum’s MT55 Platform has a slim pedestal
(Click to enlarge)

But, where the MT55 Pro looks like what it is — a display glued to the top of a powerful tower PC — the MT55 Platform gains a slim, highly styled pedestal. The screen on top, just three inches thick, is functionally the same as the one on the MT55 Pro.

According to Ideum, the MT55 Platform’s LED-backlit display measures 55 inches diagonaly and incorporates an optical multitouch system, with support for up to 32 simultaneous inputs. The screen provides 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, has a 500-nit brightness rating, and has an extremely high 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio, the company adds.

Standing 31 inches high (for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance), the MT55 Platform conceals its other components inside the pedestal, which has hidden bolt holes for added security. The computer inside has the Core i5-560M processor (or, for another $750, a 3.06GHz Core i7-860); 8GB of DDR3 memory; and a 128GB SSD (256GB on the Core i7 model), Ideum says.

According to Ideum, the device also includes an Ethernet port, 802.11b/g/n wireless networking, and Bluetooth. Audio I/O and USB ports are provided in a recess within the pedestal, though we’re guessing any cables connected to these would have to be run through holes drilled in the floor.

It’s said the MT55 Platform can run any touch-enabled Windows 7 application, but of course the device is intended to be used with custom, site-specific software. The table again ships with a copy of the GestureWorks software development kit, designed to work with Adobe’s Flash and Flex. Also provided is a license for the open source multitouch-enabled exhibit components found at www.openexhibits.org, Ideum adds.

According to Open Exhibits, such components include:

* Mask Image Viewer Project Thumbnail Mask Image Viewer — This multitouch module gives the ability to view interactive masked images. It uses two images and a shaped mask to dynamically mask sections of one image using the second. Users can pan around the mask using the drag gesture, zoom and rotate. Additionally the image itself can be dragged, scaled and rotated using the gestures on the image frame.

* Panoramic Viewer Project ThumbnailPanoramic Viewer — The PanoramicViewer is a module that uses the AWAY3D API to create interactive high resolution zoomable 360 degree panoramic viewing windows. Multiple touch object windows can independently display individual panoramic views with different sizes and orientations.

* Live Video Viewer Project ThumbnailLive Video Viewer — The LiveVideoViewer module can be used to display live web camera video. The video feed viewing area can be resized and dragged about the stage with each web cam or live video feed acting as an independent multitouch object.

* Collection Viewer Project ThumbnailCollection Viewer — The Collection Viewer is a stand-alone media viewing application. It can use any combination of the six Open Exhibits core modules (Flickr Viewer, Key Viewer, Video Viewer, YouTube Viewer, Image Viewer and GMap Viewer) to create a rich application with image, video, and mapping objects and a customizable onscreen keyboard.

Ideum says the MT55 Platform weighs 195 pounds — more than 50 pounds less than the MT55 Pro — and measures 51.5 x 31 x 30.5 inches. The device comes with a two-year warranty and sturdy wooden packing crate, the company adds.