Microsoft Surface.. The new age of computing

Microsoft Surface™ is a surface computing platform that responds to natural hand gestures and real world objects. It has a 360-degree user interface, a 30-inch reflective surface with a XGA DLP projector underneath the surface which projects an image onto its underside, while five cameras in the machine's housing record reflections of infrared light from objects and human fingertips on the surface. The surface is capable of object recognition, object/finger orientation recognition and tracking, and is multi-touch and is multi-user. Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by placing and moving placed objects. This paradigm of interaction with computers is known as a natural user interface (NUI).


Surface has been optimized to respond to 52 touches at a time. During a demonstration with a reporter, Mark Bolger, the Surface Computing group's marketing director, "dipped" his finger in an on-screen paint palette, then dragged it across the screen to draw a smiley face. Then he used all 10 fingers at once to give the face a full head of hair.

Using the specially-designed barcode-style "Surface tags" on objects, Microsoft Surface can offer a variety of features, for example automatically offering additional wine choices tailored to the dinner being eaten based on the type of wine set on the Surface, or in conjunction with a password, offering user authentication.

A commercial Microsoft Surface unit is $12,500 (unit only), whereas a developer Microsoft Surface unit costs $15,000 and includes a developer unit, five seats and support.] However Microsoft said it expects prices to drop enough to make consumer versions feasible in 2010.

Partner companies use the Surface in their hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. The Surface is used to choose meals at restaurants, plan vacations and spots to visit from the hotel room. Starwood Hotels plan to allow users to drop a credit card on the table to pay for music, books, and other amenities offered at the resort. In AT&T stores, use of the Surface include interactive presentations of plans, coverage, and phone features, in addition to dropping two different phones on the table and having the customer be able to view and compare prices, features, and plans. MSNBC's coverage of the 2008 US presidential election used Surface to share with viewers information and analysis of the race leading up to the election. The anchor analyzes polling and election results, views trends and demographic information and explores county maps to determine voting patterns and predict outcomes, all with the flick of his finger. In some hotels and casinos, users can do a range of things such as, watch videos, view maps, order drinks, play games, and chat and flirt with people between Surface tables.


The technology behind Surface is called multi-touch and has at least a 25-year history,beginning in 1982, with pioneering work being done at the University of Toronto (multi-touch tablets) and Bell Labs (multi-touch screens). The product idea for Surface was initially conceptualized in 2001 by Steven Bathiche of Microsoft Hardware and Andy Wilson of Microsoft Research.

In October 2001, a virtual team was formed with Bathiche and Wilson as key members, to bring the idea to the next stage of development.

In 2003, the team presented the idea to the Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, in a group review. Later, the virtual team was expanded and a prototype nicknamed T1 was produced within a month. The prototype was based on an IKEA table with a hole cut in the top and a sheet of architect vellum used as a diffuser. The team also developed some applications, including pinball, a photo browser and a video puzzle. Over the next year, Microsoft built more than 85 early prototypes for Surface. The final hardware design was completed in 2005.

A similar concept was used in the 2002 science fiction movie Minority Report . As noted in the DVD commentary, the director Steven Spielberg stated the concept of the device came from consultation with Microsoft during the making of the movie. One of the film's technology consultant's associates from MIT later joined Microsoft to work on the Surface project.


 


Surface was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 30, 2007 at The Wall Street Journal's 'D: All Things Digital' conference in Carlsbad, California. Surface Computing is part of Microsoft's Productivity and Extended Consumer Experiences Group, which is within the Entertainment & Devices division. The first few companies to deploy Surface will include Harrah's Entertainment, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, T-Mobile and a distributor, International Game Technology.


On April 17, 2008 AT&T became the first retail location to launch Surface. In June 2008 Harrah’s Entertainment launched Microsoft Surface at Rio iBar[13] and Disneyland launched it in Tomorrowland, Innoventions Dream Home[14]. On August 13, 2008 Sheraton Hotels introduced Surface in their hotel lobbies at 5 locations. On September 8, 2008 MSNBC began using the Surface to work with election maps for the 2008 US Presidential Election on air. MSNBC's political director, Chuck Todd, was placed at the helm.

Source : Wikipedia
Image source: http://ch0cl8sngrin.files.wordpress.com/ and technabob.com

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Comments

  1. prithwish2006

    In my opinion this thing is gonna change the entire computer concept.

    May 09, 2009