Home Data Integration The Table

The Table, Max Dean and Raffaello D'Andrea

The National Gallery of Canada Collection, 41148



Quantity Component Note
1 table

Table of folded aluminum sheets, including:

- Motors with omnidirectional wheels systems (4).

- Supplementary motor (1)

- Supplementary wheels (35)

- Motion control system (Advanced Motion Control, United States) and its custom-made software (1).

- Sensors which immobilize the table in case of impact (2).

- Motion sensors located under the table, which stop the table’s movement when a person attempts to go underneath (4).

- Batteries NiMH (6)

- Power relay (Potter & Brumfield, Mexico, KUHP-11D51-24) (1)

- High-tension distributor (1)

- Antenna (modem) (1)

1 modem radio, Futuba, Japon, FRH-SD03TU, 80900029 Radio modem: spread spectrum wireless communication system. The emitter is located in the control room and the receptor underneath the table (power source included).
1 VGA connecting cable Links the radio modem to the computer.
1 computer, Dell, Pentium III, SNT/P/PP/PII, 813DX10001 Operating system: Windows 2000 professionnal
vision system The software is saved on two hard disks: computer disk (original) and a copy stored at off-site storage location. The software includes: Microsoft visual C++ 6.0; Matrox Imaging products 6.1 (including Matrox imaging Library « c », Matrox Intellicam and a video card); Java 1.0 (table code, colour fine-tuning program) and the “Table” software.
1 Monitor, Nec Technologies, Japan, AccuSync 70 (AS70), OX41268YA Graphic user interface (GUI) allows the user to calibrate the camera (focusing, colour balance, distortion correction).
1 Keyboard, Qwerty, Keytronic, E03601 QUSASI-C
1 mouse, Microsoft Multimouse, PNX04-72167
1 camera, Hitachi, KP-C55oU-CCP, DTC, Royal lens
Royal lens 4.5 mm wide angle which allows for capturing an image of the room.
1 camera mount
Custom-made. It allows the camera to be installed from the ceiling and perpendicular to the floor.
2 light fixtures, Ultra Light Manufacturing Company, United States, Ultra Space Light – 6212 Six halogen lamps, fixed on a metallic, cylindrical frame covered with a semi-transparent, white cloth.
12 bulb, Quartz-Halogen, General Electric (GE), FHM R7s-15 1000 W
1 battery charger, NiMH/ NiCd, 3PN7045 – 36V
1 power conditioner, Sola, Sola MCR 7000


Power supply, extension cords, etc.




Iconographic Technical Installation

The work is an installation which consists of an aluminum table. Installed in a stunningly lit room with a bright red floor, the table selects a visitor and interacts with him/her by turning on its axis, by rolling towards the person or by moving backwards if the visitor approaches it. The chosen spectator becomes a performer, an object of attention of the table and also of other visitors. It is up to the chosen spectator to decide whether the table is to react or not. When the interaction becomes weak or nonexistent, the table selects a new person with whom to interact.

The table has the capacity to move autonomously thanks to precise technical characteristics (proportions, surface colour and lighting).


A camera, suspended from the ceiling continually captures an overview of the floor, the presence of visitors and their movement along with the movement of the table. The camera is connected to a computer in the control room which houses the vision system and the control software. The red floor becomes a screen on which the “Table” software captures movements. The space lights installed in the room prevent the formation of shadows which the software could mistakenly interpret as physical presence allowing the table to interact accurately with the visitor.


The computer control system transmits instructions to the table with the help of a radio modem. The radio signal is captured by an antenna located underneath the table. The remaining components are concealed under the table top and inside the tubular legs, each of which encloses an omnidirectional wheels system and a motor. The wheels are activated by the motors, and the table moves in space according to the reactions of the visitor chosen by the control software.


1- The work requires its own exhibition room and a control room. Define the parameters of the exhibition room by respecting the 3:4 ratio (ideal room dimensions: 18 x 24 x 20 feet).

Note: The maximum room dimension is directly related to the focal capacity of the camera lens. The room should have a single entrance, with a maximum width of 38 inches. The control room should be adjacent to the exhibition room and should be large enough to hold a small table, a computer and its components, and a battery charger. Nine individual electrical outlets are necessary.


2- Construct a false floor: screwed laminated hard wood finished with epoxy putty and alkyd-based paint, semi-gloss Safety Red applied with a roller. The walls and the ceiling should be painted white.


3- Install the camera on the ceiling. Cables linked to the computer should go across and inside the ceiling to reach the control room.


4- Install the two light fixtures (connect only two lamps per light).


5- Install the table, switch it “ON” by pressing the button located under the table top. If the green light does not turn on, switch it “OFF” and then recharge the batteries (access to batteries is located underneath the table).


6- Turn the table switch “ON” and plug in the computer and other equipment; activate the table software. Within three seconds, click on File/ Connect and then on Vision/Restart vision system; calibrate the different parameters (colour balance, distortions and focal plane of the camera) in order for the motion control system to recognize the table and the visitors as distinct entities.


7- Test the behaviour of the table.


8- The batteries must be recharged each night. Turn the table switch “OFF”; shut down the computer software (File/Exit) and the session (Ctrl+Alt+Del) without shutting down the computer; do not shut down other devices; recharge the table.


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