Optimizing Lighting Conditions Pixelsense Samsung SUR40

September 29, 2013

There is a lot of confusion about the way the SUR40 multi touch input works. It's not a regular resistive or capacitive touch screen, instead the SUR40 takes infrared pictures at 60 frames per second and translates them into gestures or object recognition using the Pixelsense software.

This brings one of the main challenges of the device which is the high sensitivity towards environmental light.

We compiled the below tips which are a consolidation of the Samsung Venue Readiness Guide together with our own experience over the past months while developing applications for Pixelsense.

Avoid any sunlight whatsoever

The guide makes the analogy of the SUR40 being like a human eye, therefore the topmost rule is to avoid any sort of direct light and especially sunlight.

While from our experience the device at times can deal with direct artificial light, it reacts very poorly under direct and indirect sunlight. Since sunlight is much brighter it creates glares and reflections easily which interfere with the devices capabilities to see what's going on at the surface.

Create the most consistent light environment

We had challenges where the environment light would change during the day since there was some daylight entering the room. In this case it might be helpful to have light sources or blinds that can be adjusted throughout the day.

In large rooms and halls use a canopy

This can work when using the device in large rooms and can provide some additional protection for the surrounding lights. However, we noticed this can have little effect on direct and indirect sunlight. The device does not simply work well in the shade as one would expect, because the environmental light that the sun is producing, even in-doors, under umbrellas etc. will make the device behave poorly if at all.

Keep the area as dark as possible

Another difference between the SUR40 and a regular touch screen is that the device performs better or worse depending on the light. This means it could be the case that your touch input works, but not as good as it could. Many people that use the device keep reporting that it is very slow. That's actually not the case, the device is extremely powerful, but the touch recognition starts jittering if the lighting is not ideal, thus make the navigation appear slow and cumbersome. We had best results in rooms that have almost no sunlight and with a very low ambient light.

Avoid lamps and light that point directly on the device

If you require to setup light around the device make sure they do not point directly on the device. The guide has some do's and don'ts.

Lighting and choice of lamps

Samsung recommends to use diffused energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDS to light as first choice. The guide has a table with the idea Lux values depending on the light sources around the tablet.

Exhibition lighting

If you are planning to use the device in an exhibition then all the above rules apply, however, you may want to consider not adding any additional light around the device at all and create an area at your stand that you keep as dark as possible. Then deal with any light sources that create flares and reflections by covering the area with canopies or try to create a closed environment for the device.

Environment Lighting Optimizer

You can use this tool to see if there are any light sources influencing the device. The app simply shows red areas where there is too much light and green where the light is just fine.

Change the device settings

If you are looking to change the sensitivity of the device here are the bad news. There are no such settings. The devices comes with a one for all setup and you will need to change the actual light around the device rather than changing the device settings. This is a very important consideration to make.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to our blog to receive relevant news and tips about digital transformation, app development, website development, UX, and UI design. Promise we won't spam you.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.