I got to stop by the Microsoft Surface team’s office yesterday in Redmond. They gave us a very thorough explanation of how the Surface works and then we got to play with some applications, games and testing tools.
I’ve seen Microsoft Surface demos several times at tech trade shows, but I haven’t had such an in-depth walk through of the technology. One question that came up during the meeting was “What is the killer app?” The answer the team gave us that the killer application isn’t an application, but the ability for groups to compute and have shared experiences. It’s more important that the Surface is multi-user than multi-touch.
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Another thing that I learned is that the Surface can recognize a lot more objects than I thought. A common perception is that the Surface can recognize up to 52 objects at a time, but it can actually recognize several hundred fingers, tags or blobs simultaneously.
Unlike most other multi-touch devices, the Microsoft Surface uses cameras to recognize objects. I was impressed at how much detail the Surface can pick up. In the video you can see a demo of how well it can see paper currency, my hands and other odds and ends.
You’ll also see a familiar face in this video as I finally got the chance to meet Hugo Ortega in person.
Last night Craig Pringle, Hugo, Dr. Neil chatted about Surface quite a bit over dinner. One thing that was holding me back from getting overly excited about service is its $12,500 price tag. With that kind of price tag a Microsoft Surface won’t be replacing my coffee table any time soon. Craig gently reminded me that Surface isn’t being sold to consumers, but to businesses that are replacing digital signage, brochures or walk-up computers.
I’d love to have one of these things in my living room and imagine someday I will once more applications are developed and the concept matures.
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