Gather round the coffee table family. You’re about to see one of the most gut-grabbin’, practical applications of touchscreen tech yet.

Your coffee table serves a lot of purposes, but Media Interaction Lab has one more to make your odd-looking neighbors peer in amazement, through the back window..

The premise is simple. Make the coffee table a universal remote control for the entire house. And it’s exactly what they’ve done, with CRISTAL.

Make it so I don’t have to move
Your entire house is made up of electrical components, most of which have have the capability of being remotely activated via automated systems. Why not add the ability to control them from a central location in the house, not on the wall, but on the table, that you’re usually sitting around in a state of slow mental decay and atrophy?

CRISTAL (Control of Remotely Interfaced Systems using Touch-based Actions in Living spaces) is a extreme simple user interface for controlling multimedia devices and home automation systems.

Better Application, Still Lookin’ Clunky as Heck
While this is one of the best example of how touchscreen tables could be used, it still has that mildly uncomfortable look to it. When you think ‘remote control’, a handheld device comes to mind, right? So kudos to the MI-Lab group for developing outside the box on tabletop touch. With all the devices they’ve been coming up with, it’s no doubt, they’re one of the groups to watch. Now, sit back and relax. Here’s a video.

MI-Lab via Wired (Hat tip Tyler! Thanks!)


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.