Thursday, May 31, 2007

Microsoft's Surface - multitouch input device

Microsoft has demonstrated a new piece of hardware - the 'Surface'. This a coffee table-like device that is using a multitouch sensor input. This technology allows one or more people to work with the device/application. You just use fingers to point, touch or drag across the display similarly to existing photo or information kiosks but taken to a new level. 'Surface' is quite intuitive and seems very easy to use.

The full press release of 'Surface' computing device is here, and videos are available here. As Steve Ballmer said, this is a multibillion dollar category product and it is obvious Microsoft won't let it go unused. Soon, 'Surface' devices will be available at the Harrah’s Entertainment properties, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and T-Mobile retail stores.

Just to note, this is not a brand new technology or Microsoft's invention. It was demonstrated in February 2006 by Jeff Han at TED. You can see the video of Jeff's presentation at GameTrailers web site. If you liked the Minority Report movie be sure to watch these videos: Introduction 2, Map navigation and images manipulation or WarCraft III gameplay.

The beauty of the multitouch sensor technology is in the fact that it enables user(s) to interact with computers more naturally. Just watch the demonstration videos for some applications Microsoft and their partners have developed.

Multitouch technology may take applications to a new level of usability and development of new user interfaces. After this computer applications won't be so boring.

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