Microsoft Research's PlayAnywhere: A surface computer for the rest of us?

PlayTable finally saw the light of day in the form of Microsoft's Surface multi-touch table. But there's a related technology that's been under development by Microsoft Research -- "PlayAnywhere" -- which still has yet to go commercial. PlayAnywhere sounds like a cheaper way to deliver some of the same promises of the Surface system.

PlayTable finally saw the light of day in the form of Microsoft's Surface multi-touch table. But there's a related technology that's been under development by Microsoft Research -- "PlayAnywhere" -- which still has yet to go commercial.

At this week's Faculty Research Summit, Microsoft researchers showed off, yet again, PlayAnywhere. Here's how the IDG News Service described what was shown:

"Andy Wilson, also a company researcher, is developing a device that could serve as a less expensive form of the surface computer that Microsoft recently unveiled. That computer will cost thousands of dollars. Wilson's invention uses a projector to display an application onto any surface, like a table top. Two infrared lasers pointed at the surface would allow users to grab and drag items with their hands."

(Wilson, by the way, is also one of the main brains behind Surface/PlayTable.)

If and when Microsoft brings PlayAnywhere to market, what form would you be interested in seeing it take?

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