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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Microsoft Surface


Introducing the all new computing environment.


Microsoft Surface is a surface computing platform that responds to natural hand gestures and real world objects. It has a 360-degree user interface, a 30-inch reflective surface with a XGA DLP projector underneath the surface which projects an image onto its underside, while four cameras in the machine's housing record reflections of infrared light from objects and human fingertips on the surface. The surface is capable of object recognition, object/finger orientation recognition and tracking, and is multi-touch and is multi-user. Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by placing and moving placed objects. This paradigm of interaction with computers is known as a natural user interface (NUI).

Surface has been optimized to respond to 52 touches at a time. During a demonstration with a reporter, Mark Bolger, the Surface Computing group's marketing director, "dipped" his finger in an on-screen paint palette, then dragged it across the screen to draw a smiley face. Then he used all 10 fingers at once to give the face a full head of hair.

Partner companies use the Surface in their hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. The Surface is used to choose meals at restaurants, plan vacations and spots to visit from the hotel room. Starwood Hotels plan to allow users to drop a credit card on the table to pay for music, books, and other amenities offered at the resort. In AT&T stores, use of the Surface include interactive presentations of plans, coverage, and phone features, in addition to dropping two different phones on the table and having the customer be able to view and compare prices, features, and plans. MSNBC's coverage of the 2008 US presidential election used Surface to share with viewers information and analysis of the race leading up to the election. The anchor analyzes polling and election results, views trends and demographic information and explores county maps to determine voting patterns and predict outcomes, all with the flick of his finger. In some hotels and casinos, users can do a range of things such as, watch videos, view maps, order drinks, play games, and chat and flirt with people between Surface tables.

Specifications

Surface is a 30-inch (76 cm) display in a table-like form factor, 22 inches (56 cm) high, 21 inches (53 cm) deep, and 42 inches (107 cm) wide. The Surface tabletop is acrylic, and its interior frame is powder-coated steel. The software platform runs on a custom version of Windows Vista and has wired Ethernet 10/100, wireless 802.11 b/g, and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. Surface applications are written using either Windows Presentation Foundation or Microsoft XNA technology.

At Microsoft's MSDN Conference, Bill Gates told developers of "Maximum" setup the Microsoft Surface was going to have:

  • Intel Core Quad Xeon "WoodCrest" @ 2.66GHz with a custom motherboard form factor about the size of two ATX motherboards.
  • 4GB DDR2-1066 RAM
  • 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive

However, the current commercially available version has the following specifications:

  • Intel Core 2Duo @ 2.13GHz (normal motherboard)
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB Sata Hard Drive

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