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Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the ok-admit-it-you-want-one dept.

466

longacre writes "Popular Mechanics takes the Microsoft Surface system for a hands-on video test drive. To be announced at today's D5 conference, the coffee-table-esqe device allows manipulation from multiple touch points, while infrared, WiFi and Bluetooth team up to allow wireless transfers between devices placed on top of it, such as cameras and cell phones. Expected to launch before the end of the year in the $5,000-$10,000 range, the devices might not make their way under many Christmas trees, but will find the insides of Starwood hotels, Harrah's casinos and T-Mobile shops."

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Microsoft can eat my goatse'd penis! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320649)

Fuck them those fucking faggots. [goatse.cz]

Frosty piss?

Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320653)

This is actually quite interesting technology. It has been conceived before - but only that - conceived. This is one time Microsoft gets kudos.

Re:Kudos (5, Informative)

Morky (577776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320811)

Jeff Han might disagree.

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321133)

I seriously doubt that. Jeff Han demonstrated a multi-touch display, as did Apple with the iPhone. Scaling photos and interactive apps are nothing new - introduced by Jeff Han, Apple or Microsoft. What is interesting is the application (implementation, and that anyone could write apps for it (as opposed to iPhone, for example).

Conception (5, Informative)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320821)

It is just about nine months since: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65 [ted.com]

But like rearing a child, we'll see the person in 5 to seven years... Or, in a month when the iPhone is released.

Re:Kudos (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320829)

You are very correct! The concept has been toyed with, in idea and a few tests, but Microsoft is getting this out of concept phase and bringing what looks to be a usable product to market. The comparisons (slams) I am seeing to touchscreens is unwarranted and simply ignorant of what this product is, does and could potentially do. I am so tired of the constant Microsoft bashing - even though I am certainly no fan myself.

The size of the table top screen itself is intriguing to me...

Other Articles (4, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321187)

This is actually quite interesting technology. It has been conceived before - but only that - conceived. This is one time Microsoft gets kudos.

Not quite. Even tho Microsoft was the first to market with something in the $10,000 range for places like Vegas. I wonder what the Blue Screens look like?

More info the MS product here [electronista.com] , here [nwsource.com] and here [i4u.com] .

I imagine that Jeff Han [nyu.edu] 's own Fascinating [multi-touchscreen.com] multi-touch [nyu.edu] system [ted.com] just might not use Windows as a fundamental foundation. Don't forget about the 16 foot long interactive wall [siggraph.org] So I can imagine several patent fights coming out of this, even though the research lines are likely independent. Microsoft might even get accused of stealing somebody else's research, regardless of the facts.

Of course, this happens a little while after Apple revealed their own multitouch interface [apple.com] . Microsoft must hate that. After all, Microsoft can't get a patent on the use of fingers, even tho they can try.

Where do ideas come from? (3, Funny)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320661)

Wow, that's annoying. I wrote a computer display coffee-table into a science-fiction story that I just finished writing, and now everybody's going to think I just steal ideas from reading Slashdot.

Re:Where do ideas come from? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320895)

Or from the movie the Island. I'm pretty sure that won't be the first time either. Most things/ideas on there own are just not all that orginal.

Re:Where do ideas come from? (2, Interesting)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320977)

Microsoft were a big investor in The Island, and since this technology has been in secret development since 2001 (apparently under the codename Milan) it's not too much of a stretch to think that the interface from the 2005 film was directly inspired by this product.

Re:Where do ideas come from? (0)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321017)

Really? M$ invests in Movies.... mmm Now i think about the fighting game in the Island was with a "xbox". I hope that is in devoplemnt too cus even i would get a console (Even a M$ one) for that ;)

Tron? (4, Informative)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320993)

In Tron, didn't the CEO guy have the display built into his office desk, with a recessed membrane-style keyboard?

Granted it only displayed VT-100, but it was still the first example I remember of a useful PC built into the furniture.

(yes, those old coctail arcade machines were cool (especially tennis) but I don't consider them a "PC")

Re:Where do ideas come from? (0)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321069)

"You must be new here!

A story by Geoffrey Landis.

It was the year of Linux on the desktop. In soviet Russia, a beowulf was wondering what a cluster of me would be like. Then, in walked Natilie Portman in hot grits..."

Re:Where do ideas come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321129)

Tron, [wikipedia.org] from 1982. Dillinger had one for his desk, so you're a little late there son. Does Microsoft's display have the MCP operating system, I wonder?

Re: Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display (0, Troll)

netrarc (1083207) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320665)

Wow. Microsoft invented the touch screen. I'm impressed. What's next, a pointing device that you can slide around and click things with?

Honestly, this appears to be a big touch screen with some special graphical effects. The object proximity detection is the only thing that is out of the ordinary, but can you imagine writing a driver for your favorite coffee cup?

Re: Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display (0)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320955)

Actually, the coffee cup manufacturer would write the driver, that's the advantage of using Microsoft!

No they copied it from Jeff Han (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321027)

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65 [ted.com]
It's all Jeff's work, the zoom, the rotate all the gestures...

His company is here:
http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ [perceptivepixel.com]

Looks like they've simply licensed it and removed all mention of the original designers.

Ob (1, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321063)

Wireless. Same size as a sofa table. Lame.

Re: Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321297)

What's next, a pointing device that you can slide around and click things with?

Yes, they're working on that. It's going to be called the 'rat'.

Re: Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display (1)

Egatlov (946979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321301)

The main difference between this and the traditional touch screens you're used to seeing is the multiple touch resolution. I've read that this uses an array of infrared cameras to do the touch sensing, which if true, is quite innovative. This table can detect AND resolve at least 8 touches, from pictures I've seen.

Many of the interface movements have been shown in the Jeff Han demonstrations as well as the iPhone demos. Maybe, just maybe, that's because they are very natural movements when you have a touchscreen capable of resolving and tracking multiple fingers?

I don't see any indication Jeff Han is involved with this. As far as I know his screen uses a true touch sensing method, nothing with infrared cameras. Also, Microsoft is spinning off a startup to develop this, while Jeff Han has his own company [perceptivepixel.com] to commercialize his IP.

I'm no Microsoft fan, but here their research labs have gathered some technology that have not been implemented on a consumer device and brought it much closer to the average user. They run 10k right now, mostly sold to casino's and T-mobile, so it's not quite a consumer device yet. However, at 10k it's pretty damn close, that's what the Lisa computer (a precursor to the PC) first sold for.

Such innovation! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320667)

Microsoft has invented the touch screen. Brilliant!

But does it.... (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320669)

Play PacMan? [tinyurl.com]

Re:But does it.... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320747)

What about pinball?
vp + vpinmame would be cool on this!
http://www.vpforums.com/ [vpforums.com]

Credit where due department (1, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320671)

Props to MS for coming up with a more-or-less unprecedented product.
The emacs users will quickly be shaking from key withdrawal, of course. ;)

Re:Credit where due department (2, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320795)

I think it is really a great product, very interesting, everything in the demo seems to simple to use, very Apple like. Microsoft has taken a clue because it seems something like Apple would do when it comes to ease of use. Just placing a memory stick on the table downloads its contents? Brilliant! I'm really happy that something like this is coming out, lets just hope it gets to us mere mortals sooner rather than later.

Re:Credit where due department (1, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320813)

sorry but no. I saw this demonstrated 3+ years ago at MIT by a couple of EE and CS students (I forgot their names) working on multipoint touch interfaces. They created almost everything I saw in that example/demo video, except the mockup of the transfer to phone.

That are not innovating this, Students at MIT did this before them and they either hired those students, or copied their work.

Re:Credit where due department (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320831)

You mean Jeff Han? I saw his demo last year.

Re:Credit where due department (1)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320903)

That being said, it's a long way from a proof-of-concept prototype to a marketable product. I'm not a big MS fan (though I don't loathe them as much as it seems a lot of slashdotters do), but I'll still give them Kudos on a really cool product.

They just need to integrate a scanner into it so people can do the classic office party "sit on the copier/scan my butt" thing. Only now, we can make your butt HUGE!

Re:Credit where due department (4, Insightful)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321245)

Oh Cripes, throw me a technology idea that no one else has thought of first. I challenge you. It's likely that I can name some obscure program on my Amiga or find a Star Trek gadget that did the same thing. Computer software and hardware is evolutionary, and ideas that come to market are almost never ever completely original. The point is, who can polish the idea, make it usable and find a market willing to pay the price for it first.

Re:Credit where due department (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320851)

Here in the UK there is a program called Dragon's Den, it's like a program where people sell their ideas to the dragons and they offer them money in exchange for a share of the company. This program featured a computerised coffee table that I think was touchscreen, but the dragons ripped it apart. I remember thinking it was a good idea, but they really did have some good arguments about why it won't have a market.

Re:Credit where due department (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321057)

Actually it does have a market, just not at $10,000 a pop. Running windows not withstanding, If it ran Linux and was not a DRM encumbered PVR, then HELL yes, it has a market...

Re:Credit where due department (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321193)

Already somebody wants linux on it. I think some catch-up is in order from the Open Source movement first.

Re:Credit where due department (Yeah To Jeff Han) (5, Informative)

Pontiac (135778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320939)

This was exciting and appeared to work much better when I saw it for the first time last year.
Check out the Jeff Han video from last year then watch the MS video.. The original is a much smoother interface.
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65 [ted.com]

Yeah MS added some fluff by making it interact with devices placed on top the the basic idea is not some new "Top Secret" project

Re:Credit where due department (Yeah To Jeff Han) (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321045)

the basic idea is not some new "Top Secret" project
Hence my wiggling with "more-or-less".
Solomon is spot on:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;
and that which is done is that which shall be done:
and there is no new thing under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Re:Credit where due department (Yeah To MIT) (1)

eshefer (12336) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321217)

actually...

The MS thingy looks like a cross between The MIT's media lab Sensetable [google.com] configuration and Jeff Hans gesture interaction software. Apart for the table reacting to the wifi products (specificly the camera) I didn't see anything that wasn;t copied from someone else there.

You're absolutely right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320967)

If you actually want to get some work done, a keyboard is just about the fastest thing there is (assuming that you're a decent typist of course). Voice recognition still doesn't work well enough for most of the stuff I do.

Trying to read from a horizontal surface is just another way to get bad posture.

For someone who actually uses a computer as a computer, this new display/input device is going nowhere. As far as using it at home, forget it. A coffee table that I can't pile stuff on ... what a waste of floor space.

So, you're right, we emacs users would indeed just get frustrated by this gadget.

Re:Credit where due department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320985)

Looks to me this is actually perceptive pixel - although I am sure MS will buy it up.

http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ [perceptivepixel.com]

MS is not founded on innovation but copying and refining - not that that is bad - but it is not a company for innovation through creation.

So credit on putting a working package together can I have my copy of Minority Report back now?

Innovation at Microsoft: (1)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320673)

Tilt the screen at a different angle!

Re:Innovation at Microsoft: (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320883)

Innovation at Microsoft:
  Tilt the screen at a different angle!


Sigh. Here's why I don't like Slashdot.

Amazing work. I want one, like now. (1, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320683)

This is so "Star Trek" to the geek in me. Finally, a way to use the computing processing power available in a method about anyone can use. Now to get it into a package that is thinner and doesn't require the supporting table.

The ease of use that is apparent is key, the idea is there, its the software that makes it all the more so amazing. I cannot wait till this type of interface is the standard

on a side note, why did it take it 930AM EST to get this up on /.

Re:Amazing work. I want one, like now. (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320841)

Now to get it into a package that is thinner and doesn't require the supporting table.


The other week Sony unveiled their thin flexible screen. I'm sure you could combine that with existing multi-touch membrane technology.

Re:Amazing work. I want one, like now. (1)

the_wesman (106427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321135)

Now to get it into a package that is thinner and doesn't require the supporting table.


done [apple.com] .

Re:Amazing work. I want one, like now. (1)

witte (681163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321261)

> This is so "Star Trek" to the geek in me.
This needs an LCARS gui :)

Porn has to be the killer application for this ... (1)

pgrote (68235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320691)

The porn industry always finds way to bring the new technology to the masses. While I am at a loss to explain how this will happen, you have to have an imagination to think it will happen.

Instead of setting up in the lobby of the Sheraton hotels, maybe they should make holosuite sort of things.

I would imagine that some sort of tactile feedback would be needed, though.

http://www.yald.com/microsoft-surface-porn [yald.com]

Similar tech (2, Informative)

TequilaMonster (321655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320697)

There were some videos a while back of a similar system being demo'd. It showed a system which allowed for multiple simultaneous touches to be detected, so you could actually grab a photograph and resize it by pulling the corners. You could give commands by chording touches on the screen. It looked really interesting, but I can't find it anymore - anybody know where I can find them again?

Re:Similar tech (3, Informative)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320771)

Yes that video was Jeff Han (also featured in the video in TFA) demoing his display a year or two ago.

Re:Similar tech (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320925)

Yes but the idea of having the camera/PDA/whatever interact like that is completely new in my mind. I haven't seen anything like that.

Props to MS for taking existing tech and adding some real functionality to it. Usually they just steal it outright. lol

Re:Similar tech (5, Informative)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320773)

http://cs.nyu.edu/~jhan/ftirsense/ [nyu.edu]

There ya go.

And there was yet another that allowed you to mix music and create synthesized effects in real time by arranging various oddly-shaped prisms on the surface. I have two (large) videos of that but I don't know where they came from.

Reactable (2, Informative)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320983)

You seem to be thinking of Reactable [upf.edu] . The main difference is that Reactable uses a camera and fiducial symbols. Reactable is really a great and low-cost system, which works fairly well (just sketching one of the symbols with marker got it recognizable). They've segregated the optical processing and the application layer very well from what I could tell, which should lead to clean and easy apps.

MS appears to be using a combination, as the guy showed some optical symbols on the bottom of objects as well.

Disturbance in the force (-1, Flamebait)

houston_pt (514463) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320703)

I felt a great disturbance in the Force...as if millions of voices (of Apple zelots) suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

Dambit! (1)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320709)

Doesn't anybody use a coaster these days?

And when I use a solvent to clean it, will it "melt" what's on the screen?

Re:Dambit! (1)

milosoftware (654147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320945)

It will most certainly see a lot of cleaning solvent, since the whole family seems to be touching it with their filthy fingers, and I can only begin to imagine the kinds of materials that will be spilled on it.

Inovation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320711)

Just waiting to hear how /. talks about how this will suck or how Microsoft copied someone else. I can't wait to hear how they did not innovate on this. Come on Linux fanboys let the bashing start thats all you guys are good for.

I for one think this is going to be cool and will usher in new ways to use computers. But it does not run Linux so it is no good ... right?

Re:Inovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320775)

It's reasonable to expect the hardware component to suffer from the usual first-generation problems that microsoft products enjoy. While those will probably get fixed it's still microsoft software running behind the scenes and there's no fix for that.

I'm optimistic that someone will port linux to it.

Re:Inovation (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320853)

I'll bite. Google or YouTube Jeff Han.

Re:Inovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321059)

Innovation at Microsoft:
(Score:2)
by FredDC (1048502) on Wednesday May 30, @09:41AM (#19320673)
Tilt the screen at a different angle!

Similar tech
(Score:1)
by TequilaMonster (321655) on Wednesday May 30, @09:42AM (#19320697)
(http://www.alanmacdonald.com/index.html)
There were some videos a while back of a similar system being demo'd. It showed a system which allowed for multiple simultaneous touches to be detected, so you could actually grab a photograph and resize it by pulling the corners. You could give commands by chording touches on the screen. It looked really interesting, but I can't find it anymore - anybody know where I can find them again?

Wow...
(Score:1)
by john g the 4th (1040350) on Wednesday May 30, @09:49AM (#19320779)
Brought to you by the people who created such great products as Windows ME, and Windows Vista; we have the most expensive computer you've ever spilled liquid on! Seriously.. by the time this really hits the commercial market (I would say 2 years), the linux version will be better.

Congratulations, Microsoft
(Score:1)
by wumpus188 (657540) on Wednesday May 30, @09:50AM (#19320809)
1970 called, it wants its four wheel drive PC back.

I've seen this before...
(Score:1)
by KevDude (115267) on Wednesday May 30, @09:52AM (#19320845)
(http://www.vnetwork.com/Portal/Members/khill)
Sounds like the Reactable synthesizer [upf.edu]. Cool demo video here [youtube.com]. The original looks way more fun than checking into a hotel too...

vaperware to steal Apple's press
(Score:2)
by boxlight (928484) on Wednesday May 30, @09:57AM (#19320899)
Microsoft has a long history of announcing new technologies long before they really exist in order to prevent a competitor from gaining marketing hype and momentum. This strategy goes right back to the earliest Windows versions -- you can read lots about this from an MS programmer's perspective in Barbarians [amazon.ca].

Since Apple is about to announce their "top secret" features in Leopard, it seems obvious it will be this sort of touch screen technology and that Microsoft is trying to steal Apple's thunder by announcing this vaperware.

boxlight

Wow...
(Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, @09:57AM (#19320911)
I'll run out and buy one just as soon as I finish installing Microsoft Bob.

My point proven /. I get flaimbait and you mod all of the Linux fanboys up.

Who wants to be a kabillionaire (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320727)

Snippet... you just run your credit card through a reader built into the table (or, when RFID cards have become the norm, just slap your card on the tabletop) and your new phone is paid for. And the casinos are looking into this to? I guess some black/grey hatters will be heading over to http://www.rfidvirus.org/ [rfidvirus.org] in pre-anticipation of those Texas Hold-em games...

The ultimate gamer (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320729)

Must have... assming it is thought out better then the Zune.

Re:The ultimate gamer (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320875)

Hey, hey... let's not go out on a limb here...

It is frankly a cool thing. Mind you I can just see my 2-year-old daughter messing with it and launching WWIII...

Nice vid (2, Interesting)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320733)

Interesting to see briefly a little on what's happened to Jeff Han (formed his own company producing multi touch displays for business and military, including wall sized as demoed in the vid, easy to do as it's a projection display) as well as more footage of Microsoft's new toy.

Multi-touch display at T.E.D (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320753)

Is this like what was shown at T.E.D. conference?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JcSu7h-I40 [youtube.com]

Yes, they've embraced and extended it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321167)

Yes they've added a few bits then pretended to be the inventor.

It's perceptive pixels work.

Initially... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320759)

... it was a chair with a screen in it, but every morning when the designers came in for work the chair had been thrown around...

Wow... (0, Flamebait)

john g the 4th (1040350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320779)

Brought to you by the people who created such great products as Windows ME, and Windows Vista; we have the most expensive computer you've ever spilled liquid on! Seriously.. by the time this really hits the commercial market (I would say 2 years), the linux version will be better.

Re:Wow... (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321115)

According to www.microsoft.com/surface, its going to be out this winter.

Congratulations, Microsoft (0, Troll)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320809)

1970 called, it wants its four wheel drive PC back.

Make it thinner and hang it on a wall (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320823)

and then I can pretend I'm in Minority Report all day long.

In Tron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320825)

There wasn't an table with display in Tron or was in others movies?

Reminds me of The Island... (1)

AmIAnAi (975049) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320839)

This thing is just like Dr. Merrick's desk in The Island [wikipedia.org] . When I first saw the film I thought it was a really impressive and practical interface.

Mind you, I think the coffee-table idea is a bit risky - having seen the scratches and spills my young daughter inflicts on our toughtened glass coffee-table...

I've seen this before... (1)

KevDude (115267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320845)

Sounds like the Reactable synthesizer [upf.edu] . Cool demo video here [youtube.com] . The original looks way more fun than checking into a hotel too...

Inductive charger? (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320865)

No? Pfft...

 

It's all about marketing (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320877)

I find this very interesting from a marketing perspective. They are promoting this as if it was a product, and yet it isn't on sale - and even the implementations they are talking about (T-Mobile, Sheraton Hotels) are really trials with partners that won't be happening until the end of next year.

So what is this all about? The Vista and Office '07 launches haven't gone well from a marketing perspective - there has been a lot of press basically saying that Microsoft is losing its competitive edge. Couple that with the iPhone, and the fact that Apple is almost certainly going to be launching new products with multi-touch capabilities over the next year or so, and I think it is clear what is going on. Microsoft really want to improve their image in relation to Apple - they don't want Apple to be seen as the innovator and them as the company that's lost it.

Notice on the website [microsoft.com] that they have a section called "origins" giving the history of the technology within Microsoft - I think they are trying to reverse the image that they copy Apple. Now when the touch-screen iMac is launched (or whatever) Microsoft will have done a fairly good job at taking some of the shine off the launch, even though they don't have a consumer product in the area, nor will they have for some years.

Note, I am not saying that Microsoft are not serious about this as a product -- just that this news launch (about a product that doesn't exist) is all about addressing people's perceptions of the company, and trying to piss on Apple's fire a bit.

Re:It's all about marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321131)

Now when the touch-screen iMac is launched (or whatever) Microsoft will have done a fairly good job at taking some of the shine off the launch, even though they don't have a consumer product in the area, nor will they have for some years.

It's called Tablet PC and it's been available for five years now. But thank you for trying to rewrite history to make it seem like Apple invented it.

Re:It's all about marketing (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321221)

But thank you for trying to rewrite history to make it seem like Apple invented it.

I never said anything of the sort. Try rereading what I said without the assumption that I'm an Apple fanboy.

Re:It's all about marketing (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321265)

Unfortunately as is typical for M$ it just all comes of a copies of other peoples existing ideas. People have been dreaming about large screen very high resolution interactive work surfaces for years. M$ of blows it by target the wrong audience, coffee table surfaces in Hotels, typical, all flash and no substance.

The real target audience should have been architects and engineers etc. using CAD but that would have taken at least half a brain. They would pay the price for the gained productivity if done correctly and the potential for sales would have been far greater. Now all that has to happen is for a smarter manufacturer to "re-invent" this device and target it at a different more profitable market.

Looks like a movie representation (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320893)

In the movies, most any movie where people are using some screen only device, it is only to convey the message or action to the audience, not to actually do work. Sure, maybe some interactive advertising expensive display in a place of bussiness, but other than that it can't do anything. How could one possibly convey anything but the most simple, and expected, communications with such a device? Try it yourself, just walk around today pointing at things instead of talking, and see how "easy" that is.

vaperware to steal Apple's press (4, Insightful)

boxlight (928484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320899)

Microsoft has a long history of announcing new technologies long before they really exist in order to prevent a competitor from gaining marketing hype and momentum. This strategy goes right back to the earliest Windows versions -- you can read lots about this from an MS programmer's perspective in Barbarians [amazon.ca] .

Since Apple is about to announce their "top secret" features in Leopard, it seems obvious it will be this sort of touch screen technology and that Microsoft is trying to steal Apple's thunder by announcing this vaperware.

boxlight

Re:vaperware to steal Apple's press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321211)

1- It's vapor. With an O.
2- I've been fortunate enough to see the prototypes in the MS visitor center a couple of times in the past 2 years. It was cool. It was real. I didn't smell any vapers.

Imagine the possibilities for tabletop gaming ... (4, Insightful)

SABME (524360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320905)

Back in 1980, when I was a hardcore high school AD&D player, my friends and I used to talk about how great it would be to have a table, with a computer inside, for gaming.

At the time, there were some utilities that could help with housekeeping in the game, but it was really clunky to have a whole computer there behind the DM's screen. Imagine, your character sheet and virtual dice right in front of you; automated tracking for dice rolls, combat and spell recovery; fancy graphics for your map, characters, and monsters; maybe even a soundtrack and audio effects.

And yes, WoW has all the features I just described, and more, but the element of everyone getting together around a table and playing face-to-face cannot be replaced.

Needless to say, I want one of these, especially for when I retire and go back to gaming full-time :-).

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320911)

I'll run out and buy one just as soon as I finish installing Microsoft Bob.

Expect Apple to unleash the Legal Nazgul (4, Interesting)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320927)


Apple has been patenting the hell out of the multitouch UI concept, and I can't imagine this is going to slip by Steve Jobs without a fight. Apple purchased FingerWorks and owns most of the concepts shown in that video.

Hidden in the recent demo for the Iphone was a glimpse of Apple's multitouch technology. If you knew where to look, it was hidden in plain site during the demo of the photo album and rolodex functions.

Re:Expect Apple to unleash the Legal Nazgul (3, Informative)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321235)

There is more than one way to implement a solution, just because this is similar to what Fingerworks did doesn't mean they are infringing on patents. I do believe Jeff Han was developing this (for a while) at the same time as Apple were putting the technology into a phone.

I could see how this could be a problem. (0, Offtopic)

paranatural2002 (1069620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320931)

When you place your wi-fi enabled digital camera on the table, for example, Surface 'sees' the camera and does something extraordinary: It pulls your digital pictures and videos out onto the table for you to look at, move, edit or send. Images literally spill out in a pool of color. I'm sure everyone at Starbucks wants to see my 'home movies' of me and my dog. On a more serious note, isn't this a bit fishy? It grabs your stuff without even asking? Isn't that...you know, bad?

FTFA (3, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320937)

forget the keyboard and mouse: The next generation of computer interfaces will be hands-on.
That is THE stupidest thing I've read all day, and I've been to fark!

Now, excuse me while I try to nudge my mouse with my mouth...

Guess What Bill said? (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321011)

that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft

Popular Mechanics (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19320991)

Isn't that the magazine that, in the 50's, said we'd all be using flying cars by the turn of the century?

Why is this tech not in Zune? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19320997)

If Apple can squeeze the same thing into a battery powered iPhone, why can't MS squeeze it into a Zune, instead of bolting a computer and a projector under my coffee table?

This is similar to having a coffee percolator that runs on a lawnmower engine.

I mean, Apple doesn't have nearly the manpower of Microsoft, yet they've got a product coming out next month that delivers this technology and fits it into your pocket. Someone at MS must be saying "Well, we tried, I guess."

similar gesture interface to iPhone (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321021)

Its just that MicroSoft could miniturize their iPhone clone as much as Apple could, so they change the name to a "table".

Very limited applications (1)

BrewedInTexas (971325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321031)

I've been following table top computing for a while. It's capable of some pretty amazing things but it runs out of applications quickly.

You cannot use text on the screen because of perspective issues. Sure you might be able to read upside down text but it gets annoying quickly.

It can only be used by one person at a time. The killer app for this would collaboration and meetings related...stuff. But it becomes nearly impossible to track the actions of different users.

There was an interesting lecture on the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering series on the Research Channel about the subject with a lecturer from (surprise, surprise) Microsoft Research.

Didn't Sun do this already? (1)

mediis (952323) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321055)

I swear I saw a video from the 90's where Sun was saying this was the future of the desktop.

Mr Blobby (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321061)

Firstly, let me say I think the software demos look fantastic. However...

Is it just me, or does the choice of hardware technologies seem a bit, well, crappy? Back projection - that means the table itself is huge underneath - if you're eating in a restaurant you want a table you can streach your legs under.

And infa-red cameras tracking the movement..? Notice when they do the paint demo - it looks like the system isn't actually very accurate. They do blobby finger painting, but if I was going to buy ones of these I would want something I could draw fine, accurate lines on with a pen. And I'm not convinced of the idea of having to put barcodes on everything so the system can recognise them.

Surely a flat-screen technology (TFT, Plasma, whatever) coupled with one of the newer multi-touch sensitive technologies would be better?

I suspect (3, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321067)

this emerged at least partially out of their previous efforts with "media pcs." On of the obvious (but largely unspoken) problem they ran into there is that the PC with mouse and keyboard is just a shitty way to interact with media. Touchscreens, on the other hand, obviously aren't. So I think that despite the fact that they are initially of course selling this only to businesses, that will be the ultimate placement of this technology. It finally allows people to look at video, music, photos, etc, on a living room computer in a way that doesn't clash immensely with the intended atmosphere of the room. So bravo to Microsoft for making an appealing product, it'll be interesting to see what Apple's response is if this table ultimately becomes successful, as media is one of Apple's important domains. But either way, it's one of the few times MS may not be lying when they say a new paradigm is arriving. Should be fun to watch.

Challenge to programmers (1)

BcNexus (826974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321089)

I bet someone can beat MS at their own game, and do this for 1 grand. I also dare the F/OSS community to create the software for this feat that works with an existing touch interface.

What else is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19321121)

http://www.sonycsl.co.jp/person/rekimoto/as/ [sonycsl.co.jp]

I didn't know Microsoft bought SONY.

useful? (1)

theTrueMikeBrown (1109161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321147)

Someone please enlighten me because I am obviously not getting the point. What new capability that was previously nonexistent does this product provide? Additionally, how is this an economically sound product? Will it ever be? "I for one..." will probably not buy this product.

You know what's really funny? (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 7 years ago | (#19321253)

Somewhere right now Jeff Hawkins is pissed. There's stolen thunder, and then there's corporate neutering. Will Jeff's device announcement even make the front page of Slashdot now?
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