Surfaces, darling

"I just want SURFACES, darling. I don't want this, look, I don't want this. I don't want THINGS on PLACES like that." - Eddie, Absolutely Fabulous

You know your blog is working when people email you and ask why you haven't blogged about stuff yet. Thanks Scott!

MS unveiled its (our?) Surfaces multi-touch computing platform today. It's a display that supports multiple touches for a more natural way of working (direct manipulation). Similar to the cool videos from Jeff Han at Perceptive Pixel that have been going around, but with some added features. "Surface" is able to recognise objects that are placed on the, well, surface and work out how to interact with them. Placing your mobile phone on the table and having all the photos just spill out onto the surface is not only cool, it's a much simpler mental model for users:

'the mobile phone contains photos'


'there are some photos stored on my phone. If I plug my phone into my computer I will have the option of extracting the photos and storing them on my harddrive. Then I can start an application which will let me work with those photos...'

While the initial hype is around consumer and social applications, there is also a huge potential for this in more serious domains in my opinion. As a collaboration environment for interaction designers, for example!

A less market-y video is on the Popular Mechanics site.

Oh, and it's built on Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

Comments (6)

  1. Rob says:

    Hey Shane,

    Surfaces looks nice. Just wondering why the Surfaces site was built using Flash and not Silverlight?



  2. Pat says:

    Enough with the copies of Expression, what do we need to do to get a free one of <em>these</em>?!

  3. Garry Trinder says:

    I wondered that too Rob. Basically when the site went into development Silverlight was in alpha, and not OK’d for commercial use, even by MS.

    Similar story for the TechEd Australia site, for example.


  4. mattymcg says:

    The video looks awesome. Your URL above is broken though, btw.

  5. Garry Trinder says:

    D’oh. All fixed. Shane

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