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HP Developing Hybrid Tablet PC / Coffee Table

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the please-use-a-coaster dept.


StrongGlad writes "HP has been working on a different take on the home entertainment PC. "Misto" is a hybrid of a coffee table and a tablet PC, featuring a large, built-in touch-screen display. The idea is to allow a group to congregate around the table and share pictures, play board games, or peruse a map. Misto uses a standard desktop PC as its engine, but comes with some specialized HP software for managing the interface. Pricing, availability and style of coffee table are all undetermined, but Misto gives people some idea of how HP wants to develop products that expand on its existing businesses."

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But... (3, Funny)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776610)

what happens to a touch-screen coffee table when you place a cup of coffee on it?

Re:But... (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776723)

What's your problem, were you raised in a barn?!!

Use a coaster before your wife catches you!

I'd rather have a robust touch-screen coffee table display that I can connect my laptop to.

Re:But... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777222)

I'd rather have a robust touch-screen coffee table display that I can connect my laptop to.

Well, just in case you were thinking of placing your laptop on top of a coffee table display, never keep a drink on the same surface as a laptop!!! [] Honestly, it's a horrible accident just waiting to happen, the kind where thousands of dollars just disappear in the blink of an eye, along with all your data.

Desktops are fine. All you replace the keyboard if you accidentally tip a drink over, maybe a mouse. But just understand that laptop keyboards also have an unintended alternative function; as a drain for liquids to thoroughly saturate and damage all the internal components of you're highly priced hardware!

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

rez_rat (1618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776753)

Furthermore, what happens to a touch screen coffee table when you SPILL a cup of coffee on it?

Re:But... (4, Funny)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776854)

A virtual coaster appears underneath it. You may customize this to your level of desired geekdom. For some, a nice lace doiley. For others, damaged floppy disks or burn-failed CDs and DVDs.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776958)

Humph - I don't know about the damaged floppy disk 'cuz the aluminum cover on it might scratch the table/screen, don't you think?

Besides, anyone with a CD or DVD burner is likely to have plenty of "coasters" available to share.

Re:But... (1)

einstienbc (825770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777087)

What part of "virtual" do you not understand?

Re:But... (1)

XMunkki (533952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777081)

This is simply called "Hot Coffee" modding. Better watch out for those law suits. :)

Don't be a slob... (1)

originalnih (709470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777160)

Put down a virtual coaster first.

Java Programmers Rejoice (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776612)

Finally ... an appropriate place to program in Java.

(Still won't make it run fast, but but the irony is thick)

Re:Java Programmers Rejoice (3, Funny)

FrontalLobe (897758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776722)

Man... this would be awesome! I'd never have to clean my coffee table again! I'd just let garbage collection take care of it.

The true use of this table revealed! (2, Funny)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776615)

Everyone knows that this is nothing more than a MAME setup to play all those old cocktail table games of yesterday! Long live Joust and Ms Pacman!!! []

Cool another $2000 atari emulator for my house. (1)

eheldreth (751767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777148)

I love Mrs. Packman on the cocktail tables.

useless (5, Funny)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776616)

Look for this item in next years Ikea catalog as part of the Tákkí collection. At the low price of $15,995.99 it is a perfect addition to any Mátereülisték line of furniture and Yöpee accessories. If you are a Mátereülisték person looking to spend some money, a Tákkí coffee table with a PC built into it would be a perfect addition to your Yöpee house! It is custom made to fit into your gas-guzzling Hummer for easy delivery. And just imagine how well it would look gathering dust between your baby-harp-seal-skin sofa and 97 inch high definition television!

- ---------- -
Hideous piece of show-off crap... this is the most useless invention since the pet rock!

Re:useless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776761)

no Yopee would be cought dead in such a small car like the Hummer.

A real Yopee has a Vehicle that has a kitchen and Bathroom! Class A motorhome all the way baby!

7.2MPG and more patriotic because of it!

Re:useless (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776880)

You have no idea how much I want one now.

Re:useless (1)

tribentwrks (807384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777182)

And don't forget to add "Sea Aquarium 13, Top Down View"! Amaze your guests with the seldom seen bald spot on Peruvian Angle Shark! Now, with more bubbles!

Re:useless (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777215)

...and that's when I met Tyler Durden.

My $399 PC already has a coffee cup holder (4, Funny)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776618)

I just press the eject button and a motorized coffee cup holder slides out. Must be some kind of productivity option on my cheap PC.

"Misto"? (2, Funny)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776619)


I would like to point out that 'mist' is the German word for 'manure'. Hmmm.

Re:"Misto"? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776686)

"Misto" is Croatian (dialect spoken in Dalmatia - coastal, Mediteranean part of Croatia) for "Place" and/or "Town". For an explanation, I guess that is more on the target, isn't it?

Re:"Misto"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776810)

Split centar svita!

Re:"Misto"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777030)

Yeah hah hah, except it's not.

The English expletive "crap" is equivalent more or less equivalent to the German "Mist".
Also, Mist could be translated to "manure". you see, "Misto" just isn't German. Sorry.

Re:"Misto"? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777127)


I would like to point out that 'mist' is the German word for 'manure'. Hmmm.

I think it's almost impossible to have words which are safe internationally.

We once had a piece of software called CUE -- we were quite dismayed when a French customer told us that it sounded remarkably like the French slang for your, er, rectal orifice. They were quite adamant we should rename it.

hehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776627)

this will be a big hit at the office until someone spills the coffee on it.

So what happens... (1)

perigee369 (837140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776628)

So what happens when you spill coffee on it? half joking, but half serious too... I have two small children, my guess it this wouldn't last 5 minutes in my house!

Re:So what happens... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776692)

So you are feeding your two small children coffee? ;)

Re:So what happens... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776715)

Or more importantly, what happens if you put your hot coffee on what presumably must be a touch screen / LCD device. Warning stickers such as "do not put hot coffee on screen" will make the device even more lame than it already sounds.

Re:So what happens... (1)

Carlbunn (817714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776977)

Everybody knows that if you put "hot coffe" in a computer, people will complain against pixelated consensual sex and put a mature label on your coffe table. And the Jack Thompson will show up on teevee

The top of the table... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776804)

The top of the table will be a single sheet of tempered glass. Tablet PC's do not use resistive "Touch screens" like PDA's do; they use Active Wacom Digitizers, which sense the position of the pen or other pointing device over the screen.

Actual tablet PC's don't have you writing on the mushy LCD, there's a sheet of tempered glass over the display to protect the LCD.

Re:So what happens... (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776853)

Ideally, what happens is the "surface sensing" technology plots the coffee spill. Then when you wipe it up, it leaves a little stain on the background. Sure, you can clean that up too, but with desktop memory, you could press one button and all the coffee/red wine rings reappear, the spill marks and everything else.

A coffee table with a stain memory -- think of the uses.


Re:So what happens... (2, Insightful)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776858)

"So what happens when you spill coffee on it? half joking, but half serious too... I have two small children, my guess it this wouldn't last 5 minutes in my house!"

Oh yeah? I have 3 (all boys). I bet *my* kids could destroy it in only 2 minutes.

Seriously though, this does look very cool. Would be a great way to play Risk.

Re:So what happens... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777236)

Given that there are touch screen kiosks in all kinds of places where they take abuse, I think somehow the technology exists to make them resist a few spills and kids whacking on them.

Turn the table (1)

karvind (833059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776631)

Gives a new meaning to turn the table ? Seriously how do you turn the table around to make sure everyone around the table can see the pics. :)

Re:Turn the table (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776733)

Tablet PCs (and most LCD monitors) have nifty screen rotation features that I'm sure could be incorporated, though obviously rotation only provides a right-side-up picture from one orientation at a time.

This sounds great (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776633)

Good for gaming. Probably good for total system management. It's the ultimate master control console.

End of line

Re:This sounds great (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776899)

"It's the ultimate master control console"

No more lost remotes!

Coffee Table Book (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776635)

I can put this in my coffee table book about coffee tables that actually turns into a coffee table.
Or my coffee table website, that is actually displayed on a coffee table....

Scratching (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776640)

And I thought the iPod nano got heavily scratched...

Sounds interesting (1)

dptalia (804960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776641)

But how practical is it? The first time you spill your drink will you short circuit something? And with obsolecense the way it is, you'd have to buy a new coffee table every couple of years! p. And will it match my mission style decor?

w-hat? (1)

XenoWolf (6057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776648)

And who thought that this was a *good* idea? Coffee tables are for holding *LIQUID BEVERAGES*, and PC + liquid = spectacular failure

Re:w-hat? (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776788)

PC + liquid = spectacular failure

really? my old Toshiba toughbook I use for emptying CF cards and writing in my journal during hiking works just fine sitting there in the rain, with a diet coke spilled in it, etc....

If this thing is going to cost what I think it will, it will be trivial to make it as protected as a toughbook is.

Re:w-hat? (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777088)

Like a Tablet PC, the surface is likely to be glass in any case, which is reasonably spill-resistant. It would not be difficult to pack the electonical bits away where they can't get spilled on.

MissedJoe (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776649)

Great! Now when you spill your coffee all over your fancy new Tablet PC, you can blame it all on the HP design team.

I think Kramer is going to sue for copyright infringement. []

Interesting concept. (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776654)

This is an interesting idea, but it sounds like an idea ahead of its time. I'm sure in 50 years, we'll all have these in our living rooms, complete with board games, pictures, and remote contols for our flying cars and household robots, but right now, I think this would be too expensive to appeal to enough people to justify its existance.

Still, you have to start somewhere, and I am glad there are companies developing stuff like this to throw at the wall.

Not ahead of its time (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776954)

It's behind. People don't congregate in the living room any more, around a coffee table. They live in the kitchen.

They should market it as a game room item. Trouble is, the touch-screen is going to get damaged so easily that nobody would want it in a game room. If I can't put my feet up on it or set a bowl of popcorn on it, I don't want it in the living room, either.

There's a company in Illinois [] that sells desks with glass tops, so you look down through the desk at the screen. Very comfortable to use. I'd think that a coffee table with a glass top like that might work better.

As long as I can put my feet up on it.

Not such a good idea... (1)

Communal Account (954236) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776655)

if there's going to be little children around. Imagine what they would do to it especially if they're unsupervised. There would be drinks and food spilled all over the place, ruining the table.

Seinfeld (1)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776660)

Somehow I pictured a variation of Kramer's coffee table book where the tablet had little legs that popped out of the bottom to turn into a coffee table. :P

Embarrassing Coffee Table Moment (4, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776665)

Madge: Barb, this party is terrific. Good wine, excellent cheese...

Barb: Thanks Madge! Jim and I try to make them memorable!

Madge: I really like your coffee table [sets wineglass down on top of table]

Barb: Oh yes, it's the latest thing! It's got a computer inside...

Madge: Oh my!!!!! [loudly]

Barb: What's wrong Barb? What... OH DEAR GOD! JIIIMMMMMM!!!!

Jim: What's up Honey?!? What's with all the... GOOD GOD!!!

[Party comes to a halt as Jim's private pics of his and Barb's conjugal activites slideshow across tabletop]

I should have thought ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776780)

party hots up around that point!

Re:Embarrassing Coffee Table Moment (2, Funny)

hodet (620484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776955)

At least they weren't his pics with Madge.

What I'd get... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776672)

Not that this is coming any time soon, but I'd be more likely to buy a rollable or foldable display that you could lay out on a table. Like the constantly rumored e-paper, but with a wireless connection to a computer elsewhere. Lock-in to a specific table is a lot less attractive, although when Microsoft comes out with such a thing, I'm looking forward to the yelling about how they're abusing their monopoly position in furniture.

CAD and Graphical Design? (1)

Grench (833454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776684)

If the "table"/screen is large enough, and the touch-screen is sensitive and accurate enough, this could be an excellent tool for CAD work, enabling you to use standard drawing tools (protractors, rulers etc) and a fine-point stylus to "draw" directly onto your blueprint as you might have done using a pen and paper (none of this faffing around with graphics tablets/trackballs.

Finally a computer I can put drinks on (1)

Illserve (56215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776706)

Not that I didn't before. You'd be amazed what a can of mountain dew will do to a laptop keyboard. I spent hours cleaning underneath every single key anddddd myyyyyy typpping stttttiiiiill lookeddd llike thhhhhhhhhhis.

Re:Finally a computer I can put drinks on (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776791)

I simply drink the mountain dew to get the sssaaammmeee eeffffffeecccctt.

Re:Finally a computer I can put drinks on (1)

dosle (794546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776877)


Re:Finally a computer I can put drinks on (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776850)

Reminds me of what a friend of mine asked me about once, if I could fix the laptop she bought while visiting her dad in Hong kong.. I asked what was wrong with it and she replied that she spilled a can of Fanta on it and now it wouldn't start up and the keys were all stuck.. I believe the story ended with her shipping it back to HK to have the mobo replaced. ;)


DandD (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776710)

That thing would be ideal for running a dungeon mapper for table top RPGs.

better (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776835)

combine this with the "dual view" lcd screens, and you dungeon master can have different view than the players on the other side of the table.

Imagine playing, risk or stratego-- you can see your pieces, and the backs of the opponenets pieces... or find a way to make the dual view lcd's quad view, and a family of 4 can play scrabble on screen, and no one can see anyone elses letters!

No problem... (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776717)

as long as it can play Wizards of Wor and Ms. Pac Man, like the old sit-down arcade "cocktail table" games. Those were bitchen. I knew exactly where to hit the Ms. Pac Man table with a pool cue to get free games...

Re:No problem... (1)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777200)

the Wizards of War "peeeeoooooo peeeeooooo" firing sound still haunts my girlfriend to this day.

Nooo! (1)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776724)

I had this idea *years* ago!!! Why didn't I patent it? I would be rich by now!


(Sorry, I just felt I had to tell the world)

Re:Nooo! (3, Funny)

AlterTick (665659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776781)

I had this idea *years* ago!!!

All of us had this idea years ago. Only HP is dumb enough to think they can make money selling one.

Re:Nooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777056)

No, you would have been sued by apple.
The Mac portable would have been prior art.

Re:Nooo! (1)

Nachtkinder (552613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777139)

Not too late. Patent it now and you'll still be able to successfully sue HP for billions before the USPTO recognise prior art! ;)

torn (1)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776729)

I'm torn between whether this is kind of cool or the stupidest thing ever. The image of a family gathered around the cofee table playing games is located in the part of my brain where I keep things like the Brady Bunch (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia), so I just don't see that taking off (maybe a commercial showing small children and their robot nannies playing games...?)

At the same time, the idea seems kind of cool as I think some interesting applications could be developed for such a device. Think interactive TV/movie trivia, centrally-located, non-tacky looking, digital-music interface, etc...

Anyway, I'm gonna go watch the Partridge Family.

Re:torn (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776936)

I'm torn between whether this is kind of cool or the stupidest thing ever. The image of a family gathered around the cofee table playing games is located in the part of my brain where I keep things like the Brady Bunch (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia), so I just don't see that taking off

I'm not sure what rock you have been living under, but family boardgames are huge in Europe, and that popularity is resurging in the US and Asia. Recent games like Settlers of Catan and Cranium have both sold over 10 million that to a AAA list videogame or a movie grossing $100M at the box office at $10/ticket. Do you know how hard it is for an album to sell 10 million copies?

Re:torn (1)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777011)

I'm not sure what rock you have been living under

It's a rock in the US.

Try to convince the wife (2, Insightful)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776735)

Husband:"Seriously, we need this!"
Wife:"You're really not joking are you?"

Husband:"But, we can have rotating screen savers with pictures of the kids..."
Wife:"Or you can just sit there flipping channels on the tv while checking scores on"
Husband:"yea, or that too..."
Wife:"It doesn't go with the the furniture we have - no."

Re:Try to convince the wife (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776872)

That one is simple....

"but dear, you will get to buy new furniture!"

Women can not resist buying a new couch. It's like shoe shopping.

Interesting... (1)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776741)

...but will it feature multiple-point touchscreen technology [] ?

Seriously, if you're going to "allow a group to congregate around the table and share pictures, play board games, or peruse a map", then you can't expect them to form an orderly queue to take turns to touch the screen in a well-defined order. Well, you can, but it takes half the fun out of it. If this is to stand a chance of being successful (which it probably doesn't anyway right now), they've got to really push the social, collaborative angle.

And that includes people doing several things at once with the screen.

TRON, reborn (1)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776758)

Now we can all have our very own MCP in our VERY OWN HOME! I wonder if it will come with that very deep computerized british accent that I loved so much! "I want him in the games until he dies plain. End of line."

Unless it plays ... (1)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776777)

... Galaga or Ms. Pacman or Centipede, it's of no use to me.

Interesting but old... (1)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776786)

HP announced this at their annual HP Labs event in Tenerife SIX months ago. So far nothing's changed.

Why are people so opposed to this? (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776803)

I understand the viability concerns (you don't want spills, etc) but I'm certain that if they are making announcements about this, that it's fairly spill-resistant, and can take a fair amount of abuse!

Not to mention, this is part of that whole "wave of the future" we're all looking for. We constantly complain that the future as we expected it is not here, and that it's not developing as quickly as we imagined, but THIS is the kind of thing that would help usher that into modern existence...

All it takes is for this to catch on, then knock-off-ers start making it cheaper, then everyone has one. It's not going to replace the standard desktop, but it would make PERFECT sense to house a Media Center PC environment, running wirelessly to the television set.

Point is, I think it makes perfect sense as the next place to put a computer rig in the home. Stop complaining (about everything) and try to see the potentials. If you can only talk about fears/flaws that would obviously be addressed by launch, then you are not thinking very hard about the product.

Mp3 players in pianos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776812)

will be the next big thing. All the family can gather around the piano to sing songs together for entertainment. Hang on!

The Zenith of 40 Years of Research (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14776817)

Wow! This is on a par with the Manhattan Project or Project Apollo. HP sure has a lot to be proud of. It leaves their previous accomplishments in the shade. I'll bet it took a lot of PhDs to put a Chinese PC with not a single HP-made or designed part into a coffee table. I hope they keep it in a well-secured lab. What could be next from the great innovators? A Bluetooth mug? A WiFi couch cozy?

I was this Bill Gates' demo (2, Interesting)

figleaf (672550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776836)

at Comdex.
Looks cool. But thats about it.

I don't think there is a any market for this.
I would not feel comfortable placing my coffee cup on this table.

This is perfect!! (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776840)

For the man who needs to buy just one more stupid thing to get his wife to divorce him.

Interesting, but not new (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776881)

Tabletop consoles have been used e.g. in military applications for years. I remember seeing pictures of the Combat Information Center aboard a 1980-vintage Dutch frigate having such a console. This was used to give the commander and XO an overview of what was happening, without having to look over the shoulder of one of the operators.
It used a light pen instead of a touchscreen, but the principle is the same.

The blurb talks about Misto as a consumer product, but I suspect it's more likely to be adopted by business users first. It offers a better way for groups of 2-4 people to interact with a computer than is now available: currently, you either crowd around a desk or use a projector, both limit interaction with the computer to one person (the one holding the keyboard/mouse).

Wow... (1)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776907)

So they took a computer with a big Cintiq [] and mounted it in an ugly-ass coffee table. Big deal. When did HP become casemodders? It doesn't even allow multi-user input, like one of these [] .

Coffee tables are for setting coffee, books, and maybe a board game on. You're not going to want to spend any significant amount of time hunched over one, even if it's for fun multi-user stuff. A normal-height table would be a lot better.

A touch-screen is a bad idea... (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776910)

What you need is layers. You have your hideously overpriced and oversized 14400x2480 display. On top of that, you must add a high resolution photosensitive layer. Above that, a removable scratch-proof, heat-resistant panel. The third will be your actual working surface. Input is provided at the photosensitive layer, through the use of a series of digital laserpointer pens. Users could be defined either by a data tag embedded in the laser (this is already widely used - laser tag, anyone?), or as simply as a differently colored laser-pointer in the pen.

If ever you damage the outermost layer, it can be replaced, at a fraction of the cost fo the massive display.

Re:A touch-screen is a bad idea... (2, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777140)

Ummm...why not use existing TabletPC active digitizer technology? The working surface is a piece of glass, which is hard, spill-proof, easy to clean, and replaceable.

Better use a coaster.... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776926)

I'd hate to forget to use a coaster in someone's house on this thing. You'd probably have a gun to your head in no time.

Needs multi-touch technology (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776972)

The tech that would make this cool would be multi-touch touchscreen technology [] . That way people could interact in parallel with the screen, not sequentially.

The ultimate magic would also include some form of RF coupling to screen and table-edge antennas to ascertain which person was touching the screen. When a person touches the screen the induced RF would flow into them and radiate. The table-edge antennas would detect it and estimate where the "toucher" is sitting. Thus, person A couldn't illegally move person B's game pieces because that table. (Anyone want to patent this? Or should I declare it public domain right now?)

To really work, the OS would need some serious hacks to handle true a simultaneous multi-user UI. It would need the ultimate in "fast user switching" while maintaining/enforcing a cross-user logical UI state for multiple users of a single screen. (More patents anyone?)

I like it (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14776986)

I'm seeing a large number of negative comments, so I thought I'd wade in to counter a little. I like it.

Forget replacing desktops, that's not what this is about. Consider the following:

  • Universal remote control. Consider this table having built-in IR, bluetooth and wi-fi. Nice remote for absolutely everything, yes?
  • Games. No, not Quake 9. Think monopoly, chess, backgammon, card games. Or even things like a couple of my current PopCap timewasters - Bejeweled 2 and Bookworm.
  • Photos, video etc.. The example image shows it - you could bring up your photos nice and quickly on this. And by video I don't mean 100gigs of ripped DVD, I mean home videos of holidays etc.
  • AV instant messaging. Nice surface to just switch on and see the person you're talking to, or just relax on the sofa speaking as the built-in mic picks up your voice.

That's just things that immediately occur - I'm sure there's more. Simultaneous web-feeds whilst TV viewing for example - perhaps a program has more info coming up on the screen. For my money, it would be improved if they made the surface tiltable, so that I could lie on the sofa and look at this with a 45 degree angle say, or for easier viewing of the movies etc.. Would also be nice if it wasn't built-in per se, but instead defined a form factor into which easily upgradable motherboards etc. could slot in. And the whole thing would need to be very hi-res too.

As I say, I like it. Would I drop everything to rush and buy one? Doubtful. But I certainly don't think it's a waste of time.


CyberBar (1)

lazarus (2879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777000)

This is exactly the product I've been looking for, depending on the quality of the coffee table itself.

Imagine leaving your cube in the office park you work in, heading down the elevator to the lobby and into a CyberBar. You sit with your colleagues at a coffee table-cum-tablet. Drinks can be browsed on the device and ordered from there, where you can also see your tab (and potentially pay). Of course, the actual drinks come on a tray carried by a slim young blonde with tight-fitting black pants...

The point is, you can have drinks, talk shop, and look things up on-line with your buds. Cyber cafes do not interest me. A bar where the tables have embedded, wired, touch-screen computers you can put your drinks on DO.

the Island (1)

nowhereman77 (956467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777015)

have the guys from HP Labs seen the movie "The Island"? The "bad guy" had such a table there as a workspace and I thought I wouldn't mind one of those ;-)

bye bye multiple desktops

Re:the Island (2, Funny)

kernelklink00 (876252) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777066)

Nobody saw The Island...

My Question Is... (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777062)

Who wants a coffee table they need to plug in? Or one that has an unsightly desktop computer box sitting under it? Or the cords?

Not at all innovative (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777084)

This is not at all innovative. The Fraunhofer institute started a project called "Ambient Agoras" (yeah, funny name) literally years ago which included some sort of table around which people could gather. It would cooperate with panels on the wall and everything would be touchscreens. You could drag and drop or really "throw" items from the table to the wall displays.

Form Factor (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777116)

Egad! Look at the clunkiness [] of that thing - more akin to a foosball table or pinball machine than a coffee table.

I got this idea 30 years ago (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777203)

I remember that I got this idea 30 years ago, when writing a science fiction story. Interesting to see that it becomes reality now.

Want one for Sea3D (Catan) (1)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777230)

I've wanted to build a table like that for 4 player Sea3D [] (Settlers of Catan), either with a projector or LCD under glass, where each player would have their own controls.

It's a really fun game, but playing it in the same room at the same table would make it even better.

Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777243)

Quite a few years ago I played two-player Galaxians on the equivalent of a glass-topped table in a pub. The rapidly increasing pace of technological change.

Kid Proof? (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777255)

Have they seen what small children do to furniture, especially tables? No way this can be that durable.

Porn (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777272)

Now I can spill coffee directly on my porn, instead of my keyboard.

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