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

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

Summary: 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.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Microsoft
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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?

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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9 comments
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  • Interesting, but

    The technology discussed in the article sounds pretty nice. I however think MS should focus a lot on the multi-touch screen technology I discussed [url=http://tinyurl.com/2kfd7y]here[/url] ? for which a taste of its multi-touch aspect is shown in [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h_OO4Gz28c]this video[/url].
    P. Douglas
  • Sounds familiar ...

    ?PlayAnywhere? ... is this something like "PlaysForSure"?
    Jens T.
  • Surface Computer for Home Automation

    A central surface computer that communicates with central home/web server for home automation communication throughout a house, located in the center of "intersecting" hallway.

    With a barcode scanner attached to a surface computer, I could scan groceries and upload it to an Internet-enabled refregerator!

    It'd be cool to have Microsoft Surface Computer when I build my own house, with Windows deeply integrated, with speech (speakers all over house, for notification purposes, including music for guests.

    But since this topic is about PlayAnywhere, I think maybe it's good for playing chess or any other board games, but I could be wrong.
    Grayson Peddie
    • Hello, Microsoft? My house crashed and it's 110 degrees...help.

      i][It'd be cool to have Microsoft Surface Computer when I build my own house, with
      Windows deeply integrated[/i]

      Great. Mary Jo writes about take home versions of the playtable, and now someone
      put two and two together and came up with the house that BSoD's.

      WTG Mary!

      Seriously though, you know Apple can't leave multitouch on the iPhone an
      upcoming iPod, so it's just a matter of time before you see either a Mac with it built
      in, or an add-on for you Mac and PC. And the difference is that Apple's is ready for
      prime time, software wise.
      nix_hed
      • Your comment doesn't belong under mine.

        Go back to your 19th century! :)
        Grayson Peddie
      • Actually

        I think that you actually need to touch the iPhones surface to get it to work. With the Play table you don't have to touch it to perform certain actions.

        If Apple has this technology then I have yet to see it.
        THEE WOLF
  • 'PlayAnywhere' won't play anywhere!

    'PlayAnywhere' won't play anywhere!
    I'm sure is not going to play on my Linux box.
    Who would use a technology coming from M$ anyway?
    Just a disaster waiting to happen!
    Linux Geek
  • Don't need "PlayAnyWhere" and "Multitouch"

    Need "PlayWhereIt'sSupposedToo"
    and "Unitouch" first.
    Ole Man
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