The Microsoft Corporation has just released yet another technologically advanced ‘everyday’ object. The object is called “surface,” a coffee table shaped computer that will react to human touch as well as to the barcodes of other everyday objects that are placed on it.
“Surface” which was unveiled officially on Wednesday, May 30, is set to be released to T-mobile stores and Starwood Hotels as early as November, according to the Associated Press. “Surface” is actually a Windows Vista program computer dressed up as a table. The table has a shiny black surface and is topped with an acrylic 30-inch touch screen. There are five cameras placed underneath the touch screen that sense objects placed on the table.
Consumers will be able to ‘play’ with the table by dragging their fingers across the surface and essentially painting on the table top. Other objects can be used on the table as well like an actual paintbrush. Also special bar-coded objects will also be able to interact with the table. Most touch screens can only react to one touch at a time, however “Surface” will be adapted to handle several touches at one time.
According to Associated Press, at a demonstration last week, “Surface” marketing director dipped his fingers into a painter’s palette which appeared on the table top’s screen and was then able to paint a smiley face onto the table top. He then used all ten fingers (at one time) to give the smiley face hair.
At this time, “Surface” is being priced anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. It is Microsoft’s hope that within three to five years, the price of the table will drop down enough to be affordable to the average American consumer.
Also, “Surface” will work hand in hand with T-mobile and T-mobile telephone devices. If a person were to place their T-mobile phone down on the table, the table would display different aspects of the phone, an explanation of sorts. They may also be able to select ring tones for their phone as well as calling plans by dragging the icons on the table toward the phone.
As far as Starwood Hotels, the tables will most likely be placed in the hotel lobbies. Guests will then be able to gather around the tables and listen to music, even purchasing certain music from the table (the table can also read credit cards that are placed on it). The table could also revolutionize the restaurant industry, by allowing patrons to order food and view menus from their table.
Also there is the ability to view pictures on the table. By placing a special card onto the table, a person would be able to see the digital pictures spill out onto the screen, and then be able to organize them by dragging them around with their fingertips. A person can resize the pictures with their fingertips. The table can also gather pictures from an actual digital camera that is placed on its surface.
Microsoft refers to “Surface” as a “grab screen” instead of a touch screen.