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Wacom Bamboo Touch and MaxMSP?

September 24, 2009 | 5:29 pm

Bamboo Touch looks like an intrigueing piece of hardware, considering it’s hardware, and has a rather large multi-touch surface.

Would there be any way to use it as of today? Would the Wacom object be able to do anything with it?

September 24, 2009 | 6:52 pm

I was eying the new Bamboo touch as well. I would be very
interested in knowing how this works with Max.
From the video…

It looks like it can only do two touch points. No idea if
there is an SDK to access additional functionality.

September 27, 2009 | 9:34 am

It’d be cool to make an omnichord out of it.

September 27, 2009 | 5:32 pm

I’d be curious to hear.

Does it do pressure? It seems like it might. Probably won’t work with the current Wacom object in Max.

September 29, 2009 | 9:35 pm

There’s a great external called fingerpicker, which connects to a macbook trackpad quite well. It would be great if the bamboo touch could do this.

Max topic:


November 21, 2009 | 8:14 pm

Unhappily I have just bought a Bamboo Touch and found it to be completely useless for what I wanted to do, which was use it as an x-y controller set up as an omnichord-style strumplate (I know, how original).

It appears to be completely impossible to get x-y coordinates out of the thing. I even examined the raw data stream using a USB sniffer and all I can see are the delta-x and delta-y (the same numbers you get out of hi with a mouse). Internally it must have some concept of absolute position as it can track the relationship between two fingers but I’m buggered if I can get the data out of it. Maybe I’m just being dense…

I suppose I could take it back and swap it for the pen-based one but then I lose multitouch and have to play it with a pen, which I really don’t want to do. So lame that they couldn’t have given this product an absolute positioning mode.



November 22, 2009 | 10:04 pm

i just found this on the wacom forum:

The hardware can detect the position of the fingers (you can see it in diagnostics, when clicking on the info/about button while pressing Ctrl), but only very few applications could use the absolute positions and at the moment there is no ‘channel’ to get this data from the tabet to the programs. Thus we use relative gestures like zoom or scroll. – That is, the driver does it own gesture recognition and sends systemevents or keystrokes to supported applications.

November 22, 2009 | 11:31 pm

Well spotted! I just tried this and it’s true, the diagnostic tool shows absolute coordinates for up to two fingers with pretty high resolution. So I guess I’ll hang on to this thing and try to reverse-engineer the diagnostic tool. There’s also some pretty in-depth info at although I think it’s out of date…


September 20, 2010 | 2:57 pm


I’m with you on that one!

Did you find any way to extract absolute positions? Or any other kind of progress? Possibly we may read the coordinates from the diagnostics tool or the relative USB input might always be relative to the previous finger position? I’d like to help out if you have found anything.

Once that’s handled, it should be easy to cancel out relative cursor input using hooks, then move the cursor to the absolute positions.

I’m also considering using the Magic Trackpad, as it has a clickable surface. I have no idea if its USB input is readable though. Any clues?


September 20, 2010 | 4:03 pm

> I’m also considering using the Magic Trackpad, as it has a clickable surface. I have no idea if its USB input is readable though. Any clues?

With the hi object and the Magic Trackpad you can get only the position of one finger. Otherwise try it with the fingerpinger external.

June 17, 2012 | 8:42 pm

This thing is finally coming:

I’ll keep you in touch !

June 18, 2012 | 12:36 am

looks fantastic Nicolas!

June 18, 2012 | 12:44 am


June 18, 2012 | 2:42 pm

I’d be curious to know on how many bits the pressure information is encoded…

June 20, 2012 | 8:14 am

oups… I did the same object a few months ago!
I really should have let you know about it, sorry.
anyway, if anyone would like to try it out, feel free to contact me via private messaging.

November 21, 2013 | 11:57 am

please, was any of the externals released in the meantime? not able to find anything public…

November 21, 2013 | 1:50 pm

yes, see

it should work for max 5, max 6, windows & mac. both 32 and 64bits.

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Forums > MaxMSP