I have to admit that even though I am not a huge fan of Microsoft, I am currently agog at their new surface technology. What it basically is is touchscreen computing on a surface, currently a coffee table, and I can see multitude possibilities with this kind of application. Watching the intro and video on the official Microsoft Surface site left me shaking my head at how far and fast technology is going.
According to the July 2007 issue of Popular Mechanics, surface machines will launch at $5000 to $10000. Machines will deploy at the end of this year and Microsoft has partnered with T-Mobile, and hotel conglomerate Starwood Hotels and Resorts (owners of Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, etc) and Vegas casino giant Harrah’s Entertainment.
You can place your digital camera on the table and instantly your pics show up on the screen, where you can move them around using your fingers, stretch them out, etc. There’s also a “Touchscreen Salesbot” which you see in action in the videos, where you can place your order by selecting what you need from the tabletop display. You can also split your bill by placing your credit cards on the table, and with your finger, dragging the different items on the bill to each card.
Quoting from Popular Mechanics:
It’s easy to dismiss the concept as pure novelty — and at first it may well be. But ask yourself: When was the last time you made a bank withdrawal from a human teller? The Surface machine is networked and infinitely flexible. You could use it to order food in a restaurant. While you wait, you could play games or surf the Internet, and then eat off its surface. And every table in the joint could be a jukebox, a television or a billboard for advertising. (You didn’t think advertisers would miss out on this, did you?)
I think this is some cool stuff, even though I am easily impressed!