Microsoft Surface

Out of Steve Bathiche and Andy Wilson's work on Surface Computing comes an elegant 30-inch diagonal display table that reacts to touch -- and will hit the market in Winter 2007.  It'll be on show at Siggraph in August.

Check out the demo (done in Flash (!) ).

Please, can I have one in my living room?

 Microsoft Surface

More on the Microsoft Research work into surface computing (and a cool video) from the MSR TechFest event this year.

P.S. Microsoft stuff gets cross-posted here for another week but my blog is actually here.


Comments (15)

  1. Pete says:

    I wonder if they bought this guy out, or just ripped him off..?

  2. RobBurke says:

    Pete, check out the timeline on the Surface site.  This is research that’s been going on in MSR for years and years.  And for what it’s worth, I’ve seen similar interactive displays before (even commercial ones – I saw one in a bar in Vegas when I was there for Mix07).  But if Surface has a robust enough… surface… and a good UI, some killer apps, and could REALLY be in my living room, then they’re on to something big.

  3. Karthi says:

    Please , let me know hardware details that this computer(Tablet) uses

  4. Brian says:

    Could it be they used Flash because it actually works, as opposed to say, windoze media? (Which, oddly enough, only works correctly in Windoze…)

    After all, this is just to try to steal the iPhone thunder (nice try, but it won’t work).

    You can probably have one for your living room, but it wouldn’t be cheap, and since when is microsoft going to try to sell a high ticket hardware item???

  5. RobBurke says:

    Brian: I was thinking they might have used Silverlight… which, while in Alpha/Beta, is working pretty well. Oh, and if you see Surface and all you can think of is iPhone… well… you’re kinda cute 🙂

  6. Microsoft Surface has just been announced and has started to ripple through blogs ( Rob has just blogged

  7. David says:

    I have been surfing all the blogs I can find today regarding the Microsoft Surface launch and everyone has a wannabe techno geek lauding the iphone. (yawn) Macs are for girls! and kids and grannies. ooohhh look at the pretty pictures on my mac…..

    Microsoft just changed the world!!! (again)

    Remeber today’s date 053007

    There won’t be a mac with multi-touchscreen capabilities for years to come.

  8. Axel Ryu says:

    Some months ago, I doodled one idea for potential major application for this kind of technology. It’s uploaded on Flickr as a set. (It’s really rough sketch and draft, I do apologize for that. )

    Basically, if you add one more screen hanging on the wall, large one, then you can use  that system in presenting news and science programs and so on.

    In my demo doodle cartoon, Brain Lamb from C-span is talking about Global Warming with a guest scientist.  

    And if you link that to applications running on desktop, say browser – Web and ‘Information programs'(on TV/Cable channels) would become seamless one thing and that’d enable us humans to see – how we are working/steering world riddled with complex and fast moving problems and subjects.

    Say in the regular news program, coverage can be 10 minutes on big complex issue, which is too short, but people can go to the web then and check further more. etc.

    They should look into the possibility to develop a system which they can sell to BBC and CNN and so on – and it will turn into major information architecture of tomorrow. If they have hard time getting what I’m saying, contact me. : D (I want to think they already thought of something like my ideas, but just in case.)

    By the way, Popular Mechanics had coverage on this issue in March 6th it seems.

  9. brad says:

    > Microsoft just changed the world!!! (again)

    Surface is borrowing work (heavily) from the Media Lab in the late 90’s.  (Not unabashedly- one of Surface’s creators, Andy Wilson, was there when metaDESK was being worked on.)  

    > There won’t be a mac with multi-touchscreen capabilities for years to come.

    Or 30 days.  iPhone was announced to have multi-touch, and will be out in June.

  10. RobBurke says:

    Andy and I were contemporaries at the Media Lab (although I doubt he would remember me, I was a lowly Masters student at the time, but my advisor, Bruce Blumberg, was a good mate of his.  They both also did some amazing work at that time, by the way.)

    David thanks for the heads-up on the iPhone blogging frenzy… given the long history of multitouch concepts I just don’t see what this has to do with iPhone compete at all.

    Yes, Media Lab is one of several places that have been showing proof-of-concepts like this for many years.  And I don’t think Microsoft ever said "ZOMG FIRST MULTITOUCH SCREEN TABLE EVAAAAR!!1!!1one" about Surface.  In fact I blogged a demo of something like this from somewhere completely different over a year ago!

    But isn’t it obvious how much potential there is for a commoditised flavour of this technology that runs WPF etc?  Scoble has some more info on how Surface works here which only makes me more excited, although as expected, at release it will be for commercial apps only:

  11. John says:

    Yeah, I knew Microsoft would catch up to the iPhone frenzy!

    I bet our friend Jeff Han who pioneered the Multi touch must not be too happy. 🙂

  12. Microsoft announced a new product called Microsoft Surface . The product is a result of a long research

  13. Brad says:

    Agreed, the potential is great.  However, the degree of commoditization seems limited from what I’ve heard.  There being aimed more at kiosk-like installations.  Would love to have one at the office or home (and I’m hoping we all will some day).

    Btw, I was a contemporary with both you and Andy at Media Lab. (’96-99, with Mike Hawley’s group.)  Apparently without meeting either of you!  It’s curious that the reporting media is treating this as a "top secret" project that Microsoft had been wrenching on in a vacuum, rather than as an accumulation of efforts through the years that have been bubbling to a boil.  It seems like there are a dozen great intertwined stories to go with it.

    This article does a fair trace:

  14. Looks interesting, but I wonder how it will fair in real life scenarios. Would it be able to tell a cucumber from a carrot? If so, that’s the end of sex in the kitchen…

  15. Chris Lott says:

    Does anyone know how to get in contact with the dev team or anyone on the surface team?  

    We have a great software app written in WPF that could benefit greatly from the surface table.  

    We actually built our own touch screen table–not multitouch but still works very well and our customers love it. Having microsoft-backed hardware and "Surface Certified" would be great.   I would think it would be quick and easy to modify our application for Surface.  Perhaps Microsoft could use our software for demo purposes as well.  

    Any help would be great! and, phone at 916-635-3487.  

    p.s. We are a Microsoft Certified Partner. 🙂

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