Microsoft’s surface computing device includes a 30-inch multitouch-screen embedded in an acrylic tabletop. The computer hidden in the table’s base runs a version of Windows Vista and has two cameras and a projector displaying the image shown on the table’s surface. Multitouch technology isn’t new and already existed several decades ago. In recent years several new multitouch technologies have been revealed, including the now famous Apple iPhone and Jeff Han’s perceptivepixel.
So what will the new interactive table allow us to do? Besides allowing people to interact with each other, the table will also serve as a new way of interacting with tagged objects. By adding a small tag which identifies the object it will become possible to transfer images from a WIFI equipped digital camera directly to the computer. Other applications include using the table to receive information about a product in a shop marked with a special tag. In a restaurant it will become possible to pay by placing a credit card on the table which will be read using the table’s internal pair of cameras.
Currently Microsoft plans to market the surface computer to commercial users including restaurants, bars, shops and casinos. Cost will be a major factor in determining the adoption rate of this new technology. Initial cost will be around $10,000. However, in several years, when the price of this new technology decreases it just might find its way into the center of your living room.