Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsofts Coffee Table Computer

Microsoft has just unveiled its new touch-sensitive coffee table-shaped computer called "Surface". This new concept, means no more mouse and keyboard, instead users control input using their fingers.

The “Surface” computer is also designed to interact with mobile phones and music players that are placed on the surface. The system will automatically detect what has been placed on the surface to allow user interaction.

Microsoft intends to initially sell the system to hotels, casinos, phone stores and restaurants with an initial cost of $5000 - $10000. Eventually the price should drop to a more realistic figure for the homebuyer segment.

The following is taken from the Microsoft Surface Site

Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that’s easy for individuals or small groups to interact with in a way that feels familiar, just like in the real world. Surface can simultaneously recognize dozens and dozens of movements such as touch, gestures and actual unique objects that have identification tags similar to bar codes.

Surface will ship to partners with a portfolio of basic applications, including photos, music, virtual concierge and games, that can be customized to provide their customers with unique experiences.

Surface computing breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology, changing the way people interact with all kinds of everyday content, from photos to maps to menus. The intuitive user interface works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information by using their hands and natural movements. Users are able to access information either on their own or collaboratively with their friends and families, unlike any experience available today. Surface computing features four key attributes:

• Direct interaction. Users can actually “grab” digital information with their hands and interact with content through touch and gesture, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.

• Multi-touch contact. Surface computing recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger as with a typical touch screen, but up to dozens and dozens of items at once.

• Multi-user experience. The horizontal form factor makes it easy for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face-to-face computing experience.

• Object recognition. Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content.

Multi-touch display. The Surface display is capable of multi-touch interaction, recognizing dozens and dozens of touches simultaneously, including fingers, hands, gestures and objects placed on the surface.

The 30-inch display in a table-sized form factor allows users to share, explore and create experiences together, enabling a truly collaborative computing experience.

Surface is 22 inches high, 21 inches deep and 42 inches wide.

The Surface tabletop is acrylic, and its interior frame is powder-coated steel.

The Surface custom software platform runs on Windows Vista™ and has wired Ethernet 10/100 and wireless 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity.

Beginning at the end of this year, consumers will be able to interact with Surface in hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and public entertainment venues.

Source: BBC