This is fascinating and it was sent in by reader Mel Buckpitt. Looks like there may be a challenger to Microsoft’s Surface and it is called the reacTable. There are currently only two of them in the world and Mel managed to catch one of them at a concert in Seoul, South Korea, where it is being used for musical artists to collaborate and create music. Here is a quote from one of the articles linked to below:
The reacTable hardware is based on a translucent, round multi-touch surface. A camera situated beneath the table, continuously analyzes the surface, tracking the player’s finger tips and the nature, position and orientation of physical objects that are distributed on its surface. These objects represent the components of a classic modular synthesizer, the players interact by moving these objects, changing their distance, orientation and the relation to each other. These actions directly control the topological structure and parameters of the sound synthesizer. A projector, also from underneath the table, draws dynamic animations on its surface, providing a visual feedback of the state, the activity and the main characteristics of the sounds produced by the audio synthesizer.
Check out this video of a Composition for Two reacTables.
If you’re interested in following this multi-touch technology here are some more links about reacTable.
A collection of videos of the reactable and software in action along with other videos of tangible music interfaces or music tables.
An article on the genetleman who keeps the band’s music together and the preparation he has to do to keep the music playing.