Context-Aware Tables

These tables are aware of their height and of neighboring tables and respond accordingly. When they are lowered, the high-resolution surface presents pictures you would find in a coffee-table book. When raised, they become bar menus. Adjusting the height also allows drums to be tuned from bongo to kettle drums to a cowbell. When connected to a neighboring table, the two can be used for collaboration and table-to-table interactions. A low-cost, capacitive sensor integrated into the table's piston enables these transformations. The capacitive piston-sensor consists of an evaporative, deposited, metallic layer on a thin dielectric that is wrapped around the piston shaft of a pneumatic cylinder. The capacitor is held in place and pressed against the moving shaft with a plastic retaining clip. These capacitors can tell the height of a chair or table.