It may not look it, but the poker table you see in the image above is a high-tech marvel of DIY electronics. Built over the course of about three months and costing about seven grand to make, Andrew Milner's poker table includes wireless RFID technology inside, RFID tags on a deck of cards, some HD cameras and some self-coded software to output a professional, automated HD video stream of a Texas Hold'em game that can be broadcast either to a TV in his house or over the internet. While having RFID tags on all the cards may sound like an unwieldy solution, the chips are flexible and thin, and don't effect the shuffling or handling of the cards in any way.
We've got a video of the table in action after the jump, as well as a brief interview with Andrew himself. Giz: What inspired you to build your poker table? How much did it cost you? Andrew Milner: Technology and poker are two of my passions, so the video poker table seemed like the perfect project. I built it in my spare time over about 3 months. Not including my time, it cost about $A7k to build. I am currently investigating the possibility of building a less expensive production version for sale. Giz: Can you tell me a bit about the video setup? Did you code the windows-based software yourself? AM: The system uses 4 colour CCD cameras, each connected to a USB capture device that encodes the video into an H.264 stream. The software on the PC (which I did code myself) takes these streams and mixes them in real time based on the data generated by the RFID reader under the table. The output is streamed live in WMV format. Giz: Have you designed/built any other high-tech products/furniture? Is there anything exciting coming from you in the future? AM:I have worked on numerous hi tech projects - I hold a patent on a system that uses RFID to track liquor usage for the hospitality industry, and my current project is the video poker table v2 which I can't talk about just yet other than to say it will be a completely different concept to the original video poker table. I'm chairman of technology services company L7 Solutions, based in Perth, and was a director of ISP iiNet Ltd for 9 years up until a couple of months ago.
If you want a closer look at the building process of Andrew's poker table, make sure you check out his site.
[Video Poker Table - Thanks Ben!]