back to article Microsoft waves in Minority Report-style computing era

Microsoft launched Surface Computing last night, and with a new computing paradigm - the table-top. Surface Computing allows users to interact by waving their hands around. The technology, which Redmond has been working on for last five years, has been top secret until now. The basic premise is a PC built into a coffee table …


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  1. Ralph B


    I wonder if it will be able to read a CDROM placed on the surface. If so, I bet they'll have it autorunning the virus contained therein.

  2. A. Lewis


    The videos of this cool new technology were doing the rounds on the web last year. I think they're still on youtube - a demonstration at a University (I think) of amazing 'multi touch' screens.

    At the time it was really exciting, and made me want to see what new possibilities could be opened up.

    I can only assume Microsoft have bought the technology, which means when we eventually get it, it will be buggy, broken and only compatible with Vista.

    That's such a shame, it could have been awesome.

    /Cynic Blog.

  3. De Zeurkous


    ....while some of the concepts do seem promising (the ones that were already appearant in the movie/story (haven't read the latter -yet-), that is), the utilization factor is primary to none when combined with non-WIMP interfaces...

    ...which makes it's usefullness rather limited.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My back is aching already

    Having played for hours in pubs on Galaxian table top edition, I can only guess that those people at Microsoft have no back bone. This is an ergonomic disaster.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glasses and coffee cups

    How long is this "surface computing" idea going to last in real life? Have you looked at the state of the average glass table in a hotel lobby, and what happens when someone puts a coffee cup down on it, or spills their drink onto/into it?

    Now if it can work out that my beer glass is almost empty, and workout which beer I'm drinking and order another for me then I'd be all for it!


    Dragons Den

    During the last series of the BBC's Dragons Den, someone came on with something along the lines of having a media canter built into a coffee table. The idea was ripped to shreds by the Dragons. Mostly it was the ergonomics, but i think the prices he mentioned were simlar, and they said it was too much.

    I personally think that this would be a nice INPUT device, kinda like an advanced graphics tablet, hooked up to a PC.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to 2006, Microsoft!

    Jefferson Han demonstrating this technology in February 2006:

  8. Graham Marsden

    Not that new...

    Matt Houston had a computer built into a coffee table back in 1982!

  9. Dan Price

    Nice idea, seen it before...

    It's a clever idea, but not the best implementation of the concept - there are some great examples on the net of a project called "reactable", which was a modular sound synthesizer with a very similar interface.

  10. auser

    The two ideas presented by microsoft

    come from two university research programs. The multitouch interface was already mentioned by a comment, the other one is the 'items as keys' technology, where a japanese professor demonstrated it by placing his mobile phone on a table as a key while it was scanned by a camera. Actually this could be built very cheaply, but instead of infrared cameras, one should use optical cams. 3d triangulation is easy whith more than 3 fixed position cameras. The other factor is the price of the display.

    However i think a better design would be a touch sensitive lcd, set up as a drawing board. (but we already have that) This tabletop layout is good for meetings, because fotos and documents can be laid out and shared between the viewers. In this case the fact that people could watch the content together gives it a plus. (the classic scenario of looking at family fotos with the owner marking things with his/her index finger and talking about the picture)

    ps: For someone who asked if the system could detect empty beer glasses and order new ones. Yes it could do that, but it needs a barcode on tehe bottom of the glass.

  11. Joel

    Is it just me?

    Or would it be really annoying to have all of your pictures presented to you in a jumbled mess you have to sort out?

  12. Dogbyte

    Ouija goes digital

    Wow, an electric Ouija board - and probably just as reliable!

  13. Landis McGauhey


    Will Microsoft actually produce or manufacture it? I thought the anti-trust legal eagles were willing to leave them alone as long as they didn't manufacture major hardware components.

  14. De Zeurkous

    RE: Glasses and coffee cups

    With this 3D technology, the problems you mention cannot be avoided. However, with efficient 2D touch screen lay-outs, it is very easy to reserve some space for those purposes.Thath's exactly one of the many reasons why I opt for the latter...

  15. Dan Dietzer

    A Good Thing

    While glancing at the site I noticed 2 young ladies exchanging songs for their Zunes. I can only assume in this "Brave New World" that DRM has finally died out.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a big Apple fan...

    ...and I think this looks fantastic.

    Imaging Aperture's light table running on this, or OS/X with Expose etc.

    good for thse of use who like multiple documents open at once.

  17. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    HA! Old!

    Designing PDA's 12 years ago, I remember having the usual "wouldn't it be great if.." conversation about table-sized LCDs as a work area. The neatest idea, of course is the "tidy desk" shortcut :-)

  18. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Notice something about all the examples?

    Notice something about all the examples? It's only used in the dark, which is nice considering that on average it's dark only 50% of the time!

    For use in a retail / food environment, it had better have the appropriate IP ratings (ie. almost indestructable and pretty much impossible to scratch).

    For home use, it had better be able to resist the intentions of the smaller folk - you know, those that for years have managed to fit impossibly large objects (or gravity defying foodstuffs) inside VHS players.

    Apart from this, you can bet you arse on the fact that it's another example of MS lockin - work the way MS work and use MS products and it'll work (sort of). Try not working the MS way or, perish the thought, use a non-MS product somewhere and it'll just fail.

    Nicely presented idea though. Can't see it particularly taking off like it is, and multiple point touchscreen interfaces aren't an especially new technology.

  19. Lee Staniforth


    I know when I'm upset, I give the keyboard a good whack! Not sure I'd fancy doing that on this surface...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew it...

    They want everyone bent over a coffee table!

  21. Lee Staniforth

    "In every pub"?

    ... and instead of "a computer in every home", a surface table in every pub/hotel?

  22. Dan

    A right bunch of optimists

    You lot are really depressing! Sure, MS aren't exactly kings of the UI, and maybe it would work better if it was made by apple, but this is still VERY cool stuff. Oh, and the amount of time they have been working on this suggests they didn't just nick it off someone else in the last 18 months. I look forward to the time that these are integrated into my coffee table for a reasonable amount. Finally, computers may actually move from being a predominantly keyboard/mouse affair to something that seamlessly fits into the real world.

  23. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Son of tablet?

    So, tablet PCs didn't really make it as a PC replacement, so BillG's answer is make the tablet bigger...?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    about time

    This doesn't make sense to anyone who loves a mouse and a keyboard.

    ....but it would make perfect sense to any non-IT literate person. I want to check email - press the email picture.... I want to read that email, press on it then...I want to move it out the way, drag the email over there literally..

    How can that be an ergonomic disaster? It's taken far too long IMHO, didn't that have it in TNG back in the 90's? :)

  25. Stu

    Cant mention this without Jeff Hann's work

    I believe the New York University multi touch implementation by Jeff Hann is COMPLETELY different and separate from Microsofts Surface technology, so much so that MS make no mention of anybody elses input into the field, claiming all the credit for multi-touch input, big surprise there.

    Every nay-sayer of this taking off need to quickly look at that video link above, copied here -

    This one uses better technology than MS, typical that MS would get a bog standard IR camera on the job instead of original thinking such as Frustrated Internal Reflection technology use by Jeff Hann.

    Especially good for mapping apps, drawing, modelling (2D and 3D), you can also provide textual input with a keyboard, which is fully resizable, rotatable, and in future could also be completely reconfigured, also into a non QWERTY layout - lets not forget the reasons behind the QWERTY layout, in that 'ye olde' typewriter manufacturers wanted to slow typing down because the letter print arms would spring out simultaneously and collide!

    I'm all for abandoning the mouse and keyboard if this is to replace it.

  26. Robert Forsyth

    As seen on Tomorrows World in the 80's or 90's

    I remember seeing 10 or 20 years ago, a white table with a video projector and video camera(s) above, the projector shone down the computer screen including a keyboard to type on and the camera tracked the ends of your fingers to allow you to point.

    The smart/clever bit is the barcode on objects and reader, much easier than trying on recognize what the object is - the barcode just tells the computer.

  27. Eddy Ito

    IR... Coffee table...

    The major application is obvious! The IR sensor monitors the temperature of the coffee and keeps it piping hot. Brilliant!!

    I can't wait until one of these replaces the dashboard in cars, think of the product liability lawsuits and associated courtroom entertainment coming from things like; "Well, I was burned when the 'too hot' coffee zoomed all over my lap while I was just trying to rotate the speedometer needle to... No your honor, I guess my left hand doesn't know what my right hand is doing."

  28. Steve Evans

    So it's...

    ...1980s table top space invaders meets Theremin.

    I can see those pint glasses going flying already...

    Now if they could only finish those holographic projector thingies so the aero desktop will appear above the pile of papers, coffee mats and remote controls, they might actually be on to a winner.

  29. Kurt Guntheroth

    I liked it

    I liked several aspects of the design; big screen, interacting with fingertips, recognizing ofjects, and the flip-over-the-icon-to-get-the-menu thing. Think of a tablet app hooked to a big whiteboard.

    Now, the ergonomics of a tabletop are awful, and they're worse with the example since you can't put your legs under it so you're leaning forward at full extension. That has to get fixed. It'll never be good for intense use (neither will the Minority Report interface). Can you imagine waving your arms around for a full eight hour day. You'd have muscles like Popeye the Sailor. Might be better if it could be tipped up like a drafting table, or pushed all the way vertical like a whiteboard. Such a stand will be an interesting industrial design project.

    Microsoft is pushing retail kiosk design in its demos. Expect it to be grimy and expensive when you see it in high-cost low-value restaurants in airports and hotels.

  30. Martin Eriksson

    Come one, give them some credit!

    This has indeed been seen before, but if they make it out with a $5-10k product by the end of the year they'll have beaten everyone to market with an actual product.

    The guy presenting at TED does already productise this for military and corporate functions but I dont even want to know what the price tag is for his products, it may well be into the millions. So maybe he does use "better" technology, but it costs more too...

    The only downside to Microsofts solution I can see is the "barcode" - if this doesnt become some sort of industry standard the interaction with other products kind of goes out the window... And thats one of the USPs...

    But lets give Microsoft some credit for innovating a little (for once) and creating a useful product!

    (and off the back of Silverlight's sexiness I have to wonder what they've put in the water over there in Redmond?)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another stolen Ms 'innovation'

    Using technology invented by Sun Microsystems - Looking Glass ( the original 3D desktop ) and GoMonkey

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Forgive me, but didn't the senior exec of Encom, Mr Dillinger, have one of these, for access to his Master Control Program, way back in 1982?


  33. Richard Kay

    If Johnny Foreigner doesn't understand you wave your arms about

    And shout louder in English. Any amount of dumbing down to avoid having to learn a few new verbs, nouns, adverbs and punctuation.

    How about the idea of command lines instead so that we can use efficient linguistic means of user interface communication. Or would that require too much intelligence ?

  34. Stephen Phillips

    Give credit where it's due

    Come on people! If Steve Jobs had announced this product the Mac Legions would be declaring it the Second Coming. But since it comes from "Micro$haft" people can only throw stones at it.

    How is it that Apple can do no wrong, Microsoft can only do wrong, and the bugginess of other companies software (am I the only one who's noticed how flaky Adobe software is?) goes entirely unremarked?

  35. hinch

    Demoed a year ago?

    thought I'd seen it somewhere before a link posted on my gaming community forums last Aug revealed all

  36. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Re: Give credit where it's due

    No, believe me, there's nothing special or interesting about the iPhone... except for the marketing hype and ready legion of drooling fools who will buy one no matter the cost and no matter how bad it is.

    Note - I'm not saying that the iPhone won't be nice to use (if you're looking straight at it, have the correct size fingers and as long as the battery lasts), but just being realistic about it's likely impact on the market compared to the impact that some are claiming it will have....

    Besides, if you want to see Apple bashing, look for the comments on an apple related article, not a MS one... :p

  37. James Cleveland

    Re: Give credit where it's due

    Well MS don't exactly have a great reputation for not taking things in the wrong direction. With vista, instead of making it fast, functional and open, they closed it more, added DRM and bloated its UI to epic proportions.

    That said, I am looking forward to this table, think of the boardgames you could play. You could prop it on its side and use it as a TV :)

    There are lots of possibilities and when it gets hacked its going to be a pretty awesome toy :D

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like a quick knockoff of Jeff Han's work

    This is what they had in Dec 2005:

    A bowl, single touch, dragging images from camera to be stored in the bottom of the bowl.

    Meanwhile shortly after that, Jeff showed his work, which is now at this stage:

    It looks like Microsoft quickly added multi-touch and made a table of it. It certainly doesn't look like they've been developing that for 5 years, given we saw the forerunner of it and it was single touch and pretty crappy.

    Wow yes, but a poor copy of someone else's wow. If Apple launch a Mac with that interface and they get their patents, Microsoft is toast. Which is why I think they're keep to pretend it was developed at MS.

  39. Mike VandeVelde


    umm they can't be the first to bring this to market, since I just saw the reactable in use at the Bjork show in Vancouver.

    very neat stuff.

    best of luck ms! well, no not really ;-)

  40. Timothy Tuck

    Yeah! MS is inovating... AGAIN!!!

    Of course none of it is original nor is it even their own or original ideas.

    BUT people do remember, this is as close as they can get to inovating anything.

    See they hope they can make everyone forget about Jeff Han and the ReacTable and all of the other various REAL INOVATIONS out there and then they can claim it all as their own.

    Soon coming to you the MS DinnerTable, can't quite have dinner without one! And even if you could, it wouldn't be the same.

    Why even bother to see "their demo", the originals are the only ones worth beans. MS can show you how NOT to build it but get it right... yeah, right! That is right up there with MS Works.



  41. Seri

    Microsoft's most inovative product marketing uses... flash?

    So where's the much touted Silverlight being used then?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Richard Kay...WTF?

    Richard, if you're entertaining a nice girl at a swanky resturant, why in the bloody hell would you want to suddenly call up the command prompt on what is something there to make your dining experience easier?

    "How should we split the bill darling?" she asks with those aluring eyes.

    "Wait a sec babe I'm just going Lynx on the command prompt to check my e-mail" you reply back as you desperately think of something to do if ever did have access to the command prompt of a table bound device not really designed for it.

    Its guys like you who scare people away from Linux.

  43. carlo


    The ergonomics should be no issue here people, just tilt half of the table to around 90 degrees, triangulation, screen view, object placement, posture all easy now so why not give me a job!

  44. Jags

    Possibilities R Unlimited...

    Its nice to see a great innovative concept from Microsoft in a long time which have unlimited possibilities.

    And is it just me ....that the people that can't come up with innovative / useful ideas (and make it happan into reality & beat Microsoft at Windows etc) just keep critisizing Microsoft ?

  45. Alexander Hanff


    I wonder how many illegal patents Microsoft have filed for this technology so far.

    Someone made a rather sweeping claim in this thread that we are all Apple loving MS hating bigots (or something to that effect). Not true, I hate both Apple and MS and I hate them both with a passion, so much of a passion in fact that both Apple and MS products are completely banned from my house (and Sony too but thats another story, well actually its the same story just a different company).

    The fact of the matter remains that MS have not invented or innovated anything here, it is old technology that people have been working on around the world for like 20 years. The only thing new here is the multitouch and even that has been developed by various other (see some of the other comments here for links) people before Microsoft.

    I would like to see it running on a vertical display surface with XGL+Compiz but oh yeah, I forgot, we can already do that for a couple hundred quid as opposed to thousands.

    MS Innovation? Funniest thing I have heard today, but then it is only 5:50am so plenty of time to see a politician talk or watch Beadles About yet.

  46. Martin Usher

    It just sucks

    Table top computer displays have been around in one form or another for years. They haven't become ubiqutous because its just not a very nice place to have a display -- you can't put anything on the table (and marks interfere with the screen clarity), its distracting if you have got stuff on the table, its "down there" -- how often do you read a book with the book sitting on a coffee table? In short, a bit of an ergonomic disaster.

    I'm not too taken with the control interface. I use a tablet every day, I read the news over breakfast. The tablet's nicer than a laptop -- no keyboard to get crumbs stuck down -- but its still prone to splashes of food on it. The tablet interface itself is one of those things that sounds really cool until you've got to use it for more than the most superficial data entry.

  47. Sceptical Bastard

    Volte face

    James Cleveland (above):

    "You could prop it on its side and use it as a TV"

    That's a coincidence! I lay my TV on its back and use it as a table. Makes it easier to watch naff 70s porn videos while eating microwaved readymeals.

    In keeping with the 'Tomorrows World' aura, let's hope M$ redefine the color scheme for the table-top BSOD - *beige* screen of death, anyone?

  48. this

    ga ga (or is it goo goo?)

    There seems to be something of the kindergarden about this. I gave up writing with my fingertips years ago. Chimps would find it handy though.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business Use?

    Interesting that at the price point mentioned ($5k-$10k) all of the examples on the website show end-user type applications - what about the potential for business meetings, potentially even using inter-office meetings where people can instantly outline their ideas etc.

    Then again, using technology available today most of this is possible (using more "traditional" input methods) with Webex and a simple projector...

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The more extreme comments on here reconfirm all the clichés about IT staffers

  51. Michael Corkery

    Cool factor.

    Let's face it, with the iPod Apple showed you don't have to be first to market or have the best product or functionality - just have something with the cool factor. The wheel on iPods is more than a gimmick, it's actually consistently fun to use, and differntiatred them as market leaders quite quickly.

    Ignoring a patent minefield - since US patents are decided by morons in favour of big business anyway ;) - Microsoft have one other barrier to overcome. No matter how well they implement the different uses here, it will initially launch as a pricey gimmick as it'll only be high end hospitality. It will have to both really take off, AND drop in price before they stand a chance of hoem users picking up, or else it'll do a PS3.

    One last point, is anyoen else wondering about the "barcode"? Let's say my table detects a credit card sized shape and searches for an RFID chip. Is this secure, or will MS try to push a new secured standard for both cards and for portable devices?

    All in all, it's risky, but it's got a wow factor that will draw non techy types away from noticing what a POP (pile of poo) their flagship desktop OS is, which has to be good for their shares.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Food etc

    Well, yeah you could get food and marks on it.

    You can get food and marks on anything. You could get worse on anything.

    For instance, your phone on your desk. Caked with grey gunge right? The receiver is probably covered with this greasy sludge too. Oh, and door handles never ever get cleaned, so they are caked too.

    Let's face it, food and marks are just a part of life.

    As to the ergonomics of the thing - good points made about the back ache and the pointless tv function.

    It would be better if it was slanted and at a reasonable height to the user.

    The applications?


    Hope Apple's I-Phone is decent.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First shipping product if it arrives before the end of the year?

    iPhone due out in June will use the same concept for manipulating images, moving through lists, etc and even that won't be the first to ship with it.

    I think the main issue people have with MS being at the helm of this is that their track record is so fundamentally poor. Half-arsed mediocre implementations are their forte so it could be yet another promising concept that is let-down badly by MS. This *does* look like fantastic technology (and it won't limited to coffee tables). It has huge potential to be very popular once its matured and the price reaches joe pub's range. But, god, does it have to be from coming Microsoft? Is there anyone who would disagree that any other company than MS would be better suited as the proselytiser for this, even a start-up? OK, maybe not Dell, but...

  54. Amy Wohl

    Technology Enables Old Ideas

    The idea of a gesture-enabled interface has been around for a long time. Office Automation conferences in the early 80's included a number of ideas, ranging from touch screens to walls of screens (or very large screens), controlled by large-scale gestures (and voice).

    Wang Laboratories had a clever gesture-controlled interface with fully graphic icons (thumbnails of actual documents, including thickness; ability to "staple" documents together and "undo" them) before Windows 3.0.

    All of this however, needed much more powerful computers and standard device interfaces to get to Microsoft's "new" idea. So give Microsoft credit for being first to a commercial market, albeit one limited by an initial high price, and let's hope that imaginative and innovative hardware designers can now figure out how to build smaller (and larger), less expensive and more mobile designs.

  55. Burton

    Very Cool!

    This is not new in tech terms... 8 years ago I demo'd a touch screen plasma TV/PC.. It was awesome. What many here seem to miss is execution... Much the same as Apple did not invent the portable music player, but took the idea in a completely different direction.

    The potential for this is HUGE... For me the most exciting aspect is collaboration! This will pull me back into programming, I'm watching for the SDK!

  56. Eric O'Brien

    Vacuous demo there

    I couldn't stand to watch the videos more than once but didn't the voice over say something like "live in a world of leisure where entertainment is king!" Yuck!

    There were a couple of interesting things in there but what they showed over and over and over was moving, rotating and scaling photos. Have they nothing more interesting to show?

    Anyone who finds the MS demos exciting, should most certainly take a look at "the real thing" at -- there is FAR more conceptual depth shown there. And there are far more interface concepts than "drag with a finger instead of with a mouse." There are several examples of manipulating 3D structures, as well as using multiple fingers on both hands and having TWO people working at the same screen... either on their own objects or TOGETHER with the other person.

  57. Chet

    Reply to Nick Ryan

    Here is a quote from you.

    "Notice something about all the examples? It's only used in the dark, which is nice considering that on average it's dark only 50% of the time!"

    Where is your head at? If you have gone to and saw the videos you would have noticed that in every video, at least one of the demos had light in the room and you could see perfectly well just like any other screen. Also on the Today Show on NBC Bill Gates demoed Surface and that was in light too.

    You also said:

    "multiple point touchscreen interfaces aren't an especially new technology."

    Uhh.. No one said that Multi-Touch was new, what they said was it was new for a computer to recognize other objects and respond to them (i.e. the cup being placed down in "The Power" video. Or the jigsaw puzzle).

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The multi touch stuff for the iPhone was purchased not invented by APPL

    ,,,was not invented or envisioned by APPL, it was purchased from ...

    (the rest is queestionable as well)

    According to this pub:

    Oh wait, it the same rag... That posters are now responding too, but I do not see these folks stating APPL stole, uhh, regurgitated, re-used, repurposed anything


    Apple acquired the multi-touch know-how that is going into their imminent iPhone product from the company Fingerworks ,

    ///End Quote

    Like the earlier poster, if it came from APPL in exactly the same design, it would have been heralded as the second coming or the greatest invention ever.

    As stated in another post sometime back…


    iPhone maybe iCopied from Taiwan

    This has been done last year --- on Linux and no one seemed to have noticed or shoudl I say cared.

    Photos FIC's Linux handset CNET

    Not a single comment. But APPL comes out and it's the greatest innovation since fire. Maybe an iReThink is in order. Or at least give credit to the original.


    And there are other example of other vendors using so-called iPhone design idea well before APPL.

    Any GOOG search will find it for you.

    There are very few very original things anymore these days.

    They are either ripoffs from some very old sci-fi movie and the like, that someone said, ‘Hey, I can make that! oh yeah and people will think it is all mine, hahahahahahah!’

    Every IT company today is on a buyng spree and has been for years and then incorporating into an offering. Get over it. It's just business, not personal.

    Very Sad indeed.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how does a human manage to never have seen one delivery of startrek ?

    or is there only empathic aliens on board of the mickey soft battlestar(tled) and thus they still have to make do with

    c:\<blink, blink>


    hail them, mr Worf. They might need our assistance......


  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know it's one of the most boring topics in the world, but...

    One of the biggest misconceptions about digital music seems to be that Apple/Microsoft/other digital music stores etc are the ones imposing DRM. They're not - retailers know that they'd get massively more sales if content was DRM-less and save everyone a lot of time. The problem is that three of the big four (and it's pretty much only UMG, WMG and SonyBMG in the world - see emusic, wippit etc for indie MP3s!) stipulate that DRM is required. It's DRM, 'end of'.

    "While glancing at the site I noticed 2 young ladies exchanging songs for their Zunes. I can only assume in this "Brave New World" that DRM has finally died out."

    With the Zune, you can transfer to a friend for 3 plays / 3 days only -

  61. spezzer

    I love it ...

    okay - so whatever you think of M$ this demo site looks soooo good. And if M$ get it off the ground, then good luck too em. I'll be handing over my folding stuff for a coffee table that looks tthat good!

  62. Michael Chester

    Better applications.....

    Not sure where i saw this, it was a few years ago, but there is a demo somewhere of a similar (tabletop, multi touch) interface, being used to play Warcraft 3 (for non-gamers thats the strategy game that preceded the MMO), drag around the units with your hands to select, jab the enemy to attack.

    And on the "detecting your empty pint" note, for that to work properly the barcode should be on the side of the glass in such a way that the light signal can be refracted to/from it only when there is less than a certain volume in the glass, having it on the bottom gives no information as to the amount of liquid in the glass.

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