Thursday, May 31, 2007

Much To Do About Microsoft Surface

Microsoft's introduction of surface computing has caused a ruckus on the IxDa, which is the discussion board of the Interaction Design Association. There was a huge backlash on the product and I commented negatively as well. I was disappointed that already at the introduction of the product Microsoft had partnered with chain hotels and casinos to introduce the product to the public in the near future. It just shifted the focus from innovation toward selling the product. Many of the shown applications are lame like showing augmented information about the wine you are drinking right on the surface of the table...

On the other hand I really like the interaction with real objects. Using the table to share data between different devices. There is a lot of promise in that. I wonder if they could have solved the recognition problem with RFID tags instead of cameras. Cameras need distance, which makes the table bulky.

Ideas and innovation happens in synchronicity. All of a sudden a few people have the same ideas around the same time. Much of it has to do with technology moving to the next level opening up the doors for certain new ideas. 
This has happened for multi-touch. The iPhone made it popular and the time for multi touch computing is now. It's everywhere and we are going to see a lot more of it. Exciting times.

This is another example of multi-touch used for a collaboration instrument as shown at the Transmediale 2007 in Berlin



This is one of MS's cheesy ads for Surface:




http://www.microsoft.com/surface/
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/surfacecomputing/default.mspx

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2 Comments:

Blogger angelo trivelli said...

Did microsoft really invent this thing? It looks like the work of an NYU researcher from a couple of years ago:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65
and
http://www.perceptivepixel.com/

June 1, 2007 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Dirk J. Platzek said...

Hello Angelo,

On the Microsoft page they have a link on the history of development. I think it is hard to tell who invented what. My previous research on multi-touch systems revealed to me that the technology has been around for nearly 20 years, just sitting there in labs. Jeff Han really pushed the envelope this year as did the iPhone. The time has just come. If you're interested: A former Microsoft employee Will Parker posted yesterday on the IxDa and created a list of links that shows where the influences came from. All other companies are being influenced by the same sources. Apple being no exeption.

June 1, 2007 at 12:27 PM  

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