Introducing Microsoft Surface 2.0—our vision for healthcare

Last evening during his keynote at CES in Las Vegas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off some of our newest innovations.  One of those was the next iteration of Surface Computing.

From the very first time I saw early prototypes of Surface in Andy Wilson’s labs at Microsoft Research, I knew the technology would soon find its way into health and healthcare.  Indeed that happened and today we have dozens of partners and customers around the world who have developed very cool solutions on Surface for clinicians, medical educators, and consumers to help them teach, learn, communicate and collaborate. 


I am now pleased to be among the first to show you the next evolution of Surface Computing—version 2.0.  No longer confined to a bulky box, the Surface unit is just a few inches thick and can be mounted on a table-top, hung from a wall or incorporated into other furnishings.  There have also been significant breakthroughs in how Surface responds to touch and how it recognizes objects.  Here’s a brief rundown on some of the improvements and new capabilities:



  • Slim device. The new hardware is 4 inches thin.
  • A richer visual experience. With the rich color saturation from a full HD display and a larger screen, Surface offers a compelling, immersive visual experience that draws people in.
  • A vision-based touch experience. With PixelSense™, Microsoft Surface sees and responds to touch and real world objects.
  • Touch-enabled from start to finish. With Windows 7 and Surface 2.0 , there is no need for a keyboard and mouse for setup and configuration.
  • New Quick Controls. Venue staff can adjust basic settings like volume, brightness, and input source.
  • More customization options. An improved configuration utility means you can quickly make changes to background images, configure applications, and modify settings without getting into code.
  • Easier remote administration. Power shell scripts are easy to use and create, so Surface can be deployed in an enterprise setting.
  • Streamlined development for touch. The Microsoft Surface 2.0 platform makes development easier with applications that run on Microsoft Windows 7 touch devices and with enhanced capabilities on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface.


Over the past few months, I had an opportunity to work with our Surface product group on developing a vision setting video for Surface 2.0 related to scenarios in health and healthcare.  Here is that video.  The health content comes in the second half of the video in a scenario where clinicians collaborate with patient information on a wall-mounted Surface device.  The scene then changes to show how a physician might use Surface to share information with patients—in this case a young couple looking over results from a fetal ultrasound.

                        Watch the Video

I fully expect to see a lot of  renewed interest in Surface from healthcare partners who have already been developing solutions on the device.  I also predict down the line that we’ll be seeing some “mashups” combining Surface with attributes of Kinect, Xbox, Xbox Live, Avatars, and possibly Microsoft Lync or Windows Live.  I’ve always maintained that the digital, flat-sceen Internet connected device in our living rooms (our television) would one day become the gateway to all kinds of new services and entertainment.  Let the “games” begin!

Bill Crounse, MD             Senior Director, Worldwide Health                  Microsoft

Comments (2)
  1. Marlon Molina says:

    I found Surface to be a great tool and very innovative, in fact the close tool to what we see in T.V. As everything we will see people bringing ideas into every industry, but I am not sure about the healtcare field. as the title of the post, I will like aa little bit of the vision for healthcare.

  2. Lincoln Nguyen says:

    GoogleTV is allready making it a reality. There should be some cool android-healthcare IT applications coming, things like telemedicine through your TV. Surface is definitely cool technology tho.

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