Microsoft's Surface: A deeper look

Microsoft's Surface: A deeper look

Summary: The software giant has been showing off some of the applications of its interactive tabletop computer in London

TOPICS: Hardware

 |  Image 1 of 9

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • This table-like device is Microsoft's Surface computer, which the company has been showing off in London.

    It uses a 30-inch screen, several cameras, a Vista PC and a projector to create an interactive, touch-sensitive environment that reacts to objects coming into contact with its flat surface.

  • This application shows an image of the bed of a stream. When you place a finger on the screen, it reacts as if you have disturbed the water above the pebbles.

    The Surface device currently costs between £5,000 and £10,000, but Microsoft hopes it will be in homes in around three to five years.

Topic: Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Expensive gimmick or real innovation

    I am always a sucker for something new and flashy - and while Surface might turn out to be another Microsoft hardware white elephant - it's heartening to some degree to see Redmond sticking its neck out slightly with something a bit wacky and blue-sky. Despite the best efforts to inject some hip back into Microsoft with the Zune - and more recently the Zune 2 - I think the more of these genuinely exciting technologies Microsoft can get behind the better. They have got money to burn and its better spent on this than on anti-competiton lawyers.
    Andrew Donoghue
  • Not new?

    I don't like to criticise but this looks a lot like the ReacTable that was being used on Bjork's Glastonbury set. The actual technology of the man-machine interface is remarkably low tech. ReacTable has come from Barcelona Uni (I think) and is an open source project.
  • But really?

    How many people are going to jump at the chance of owning one of these? An expensive item just to use as a coffee table or to accidentally throw your car-keys onto.

    Even with a wifi system to interface with cameras and other gadgets i'm really struggling to see a use for it in the home, hotels maybe, labelled "the new and swanky information point".

    I can't even look at the thing without thinking of the spoof video was out earlier this year
  • Surface has it's uses

    Bill Gates gave an excellent demonstration of a practical application for a surface table at CES. It was used as the kitchen work surface.

    When food packets where placed on it the table would show the ingredients/nutritional values etc. But also if you put multiple items it would show you a recipe for a meal you could create with those items.

    With surface being so versatile it doesn't need to have one use. It can be educational/entertaining for small children who can better interact with the large touch friendly surface than with a keyboard and mouse. It can be practical such as the kitchen example. It can be creative with multiple artists working together on a design and hundreds of applications yet to be thought off.

    I particular look forward to seeing them in restaurants as I have allergies. Being able to see the ingredients either by navigating the menu on the surface rather than the limited info on traditional paper menu's or being told the ingredients when food items are placed on the surface will save me from the usual long wait while the waitress goes and asks the chef.