What is the TUIO protocol?

When you interact with a multitouch display or tangible user interface, you most likely expect something to happen on the screen. The images or content displayed should react to your movements and to the objects you place there. But how does that work? What goes on behind the scenes? That’s exactly what we’re going to explain – and it all starts with the TUIO protocol.

What is a “protocol” in this context?

A protocol defines the rules for data exchange with a multitouch display. You can think of a protocol like a language - every language has its own rules and grammatical structures, and if two people want to communicate effectively with each other, establishing a common language is the first step. The same applies for hardware! If two hardware devices support the same protocol, they can communicate successfully with each other, regardless of manufacturer or device type.

What is the TUIO protocol?

The TUIO protocol was originally developed to run interactive tabletop systems. Since then, TUIO has become the standard protocol for object recognition and enables communication between multitouch devices, such as our Scape® Tangible Displays, and clients, like computers. This allows a computer to receive and process the signals from a device. The computer can then let the user move and edit the graphic elements on the screen.

How does it work?

Of course, the computer needs access to a TUIO server, as well as software to receive information from that server. Ready-made clients are already available for the most common programming languages. And since the TUIO protocol is non-proprietary, a so-called “open framework”, you can always use the best hardware for your project, and everyone can develop applications according to the protocol without having to pay for it.

Want to know more? We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Get in touch!

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