Larry Larsen

First Look: Microsoft Surface Computer!

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About a year ago I gave a presentation to a group of journalists about gadgets of the future and showed a video about a theoretical multi-touch computing system. When asked when we would see something like that in the wild, I optimistically ballparked 5-7 years. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into a room at Microsoft and found a fully functioning Microsoft Surface Computer (more than one, actually.)

I played with it long after the shoot was over. It's incredible. And I know many of you have the same question I did; when am I going to have one of these in my house? Surface computers will start with Microsoft partners getting first shot at various public applications, you'll most likely see them in action in Las Vegas first. Eventually prices will come down and production will go up and I expect we'll all be waving through our playlists on our coffee table before we know it. You'll also see in this video that wifi on the Zune can be used for more than just bursting a song or picture to a stranger.

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    The Discussion

    • Robert Turner

      This type of device is a really neat concept. Kinda brings alot of ideas to the "table", and for one could lead to promising things later on.
      Btw anyone rememeber Macross Plus, and the holo-imaging? This seems to reflect a bit more towards that spectrum. Maybe its not far off anymore.
      **Back to the Future = in now

    • Robert Turner

      This type of device is a really neat concept. Kinda brings alot of ideas to the "table", and for one could lead to promising things later on.
      Btw anyone rememeber Macross Plus, and the holo-imaging? This seems to reflect a bit more towards that spectrum. Maybe its not far off anymore.
      **Back to the Future = in now

    • msabadish

      This should prove to be as successful as the tabletop version of Burgertime as displayed by the visionaries in Top Dog circa 1987! 

    • msabadish

      This should prove to be as successful as the tabletop version of Burgertime as displayed by the visionaries in Top Dog circa 1987! 

    • msabadish

      This will be even bigger than the tabletop version of Burgertime circa 1987!

    • msabadish

      This will be even bigger than the tabletop version of Burgertime circa 1987!

    • Googleman81

      Awesome! Except the T-Mobile stuff (because I dont like T-Mobile) and that it seems to be heavily depending on the use of a credit card or royalty card (because I dont have any of those). But I do have a Zune... I think this will possibly be have to limited or customized for its supposed field of use though as I imagine if I would get access to one of those with all its functionality and someone would supply me with food and water I would probably not go away from the device for at least 24 hours or so, meaning that someone supposed to be using the thing in a restaurant to place orders might end up video puzzling and adding songs to his Zune for a while and then sort out vacation photos and before he thinks of it the waitress has to tell him that the restaurant closes... You know what I mean. I want one of those!

    • Googleman81

      Awesome! Except the T-Mobile stuff (because I dont like T-Mobile) and that it seems to be heavily depending on the use of a credit card or royalty card (because I dont have any of those). But I do have a Zune... I think this will possibly be have to limited or customized for its supposed field of use though as I imagine if I would get access to one of those with all its functionality and someone would supply me with food and water I would probably not go away from the device for at least 24 hours or so, meaning that someone supposed to be using the thing in a restaurant to place orders might end up video puzzling and adding songs to his Zune for a while and then sort out vacation photos and before he thinks of it the waitress has to tell him that the restaurant closes... You know what I mean. I want one of those!

    • Ted Bracewell

      It's like Minority Report without the freaky psychic chick in the swimming pool Smiley

    • Ted Bracewell

      It's like Minority Report without the freaky psychic chick in the swimming pool Smiley

    • sbrownla

      We can't just enjoy one another's company any more... Don't get me wrong it looks like a ton of fun... but it looks mighty distracting as well.

      I'd much rather see it on a tablet PC... Here's hoping we can expect that to come pretty soon.

      Great job!

      Of course, now we wait for all of the messages about how the other company was ripped off and their phone used it first yadda yadda.


    • sbrownla

      We can't just enjoy one another's company any more... Don't get me wrong it looks like a ton of fun... but it looks mighty distracting as well.

      I'd much rather see it on a tablet PC... Here's hoping we can expect that to come pretty soon.

      Great job!

      Of course, now we wait for all of the messages about how the other company was ripped off and their phone used it first yadda yadda.


    • Linkyshinks

      Wow, that is pretty cool. It was always going to head in this direction soon enough.  LS

    • Linkyshinks

      Wow, that is pretty cool. It was always going to head in this direction soon enough.  LS

    • sbrownla

      Oh, and that's a t-Mobile Dash, not an MDA. Not terribly important, but a noticeable mistake nonetheless. The new MDA/Wing is on Microsoft's Surface site, which is interesting and pretty.

    • sbrownla

      Oh, and that's a t-Mobile Dash, not an MDA. Not terribly important, but a noticeable mistake nonetheless. The new MDA/Wing is on Microsoft's Surface site, which is interesting and pretty.

    • terry.ning

      It's amazing computer. All things in a surface!

    • terry.ning

      It's amazing computer. All things in a surface!

    • ErroX

      Its nice that this is for commercial market. But is'nt this cool and usefull in a normal household? No more cheating on Friday nights texas hold 'em... for sure..Tongue Out

    • ErroX

      Its nice that this is for commercial market. But is'nt this cool and usefull in a normal household? No more cheating on Friday nights texas hold 'em... for sure..Tongue Out

    • Matthew Mushall

      OMFG!  That is absolutely incredible.  I've seen some of the videos from CES before, but nothing as thorough.  The practical applications in the consumer and commercial market are almost limitless.  The only downside to this would be the potential to damage the screen.  People tend to take things for granted and it wouldn't be long before the kids start to play a little rough with it or angry patrons throw down their beverage of choice and scratch the screen.  Still, could you imagine a coffee table with this on top or built into it?  What Incredible opportunities!

      Amazing segment, Larry.  Thanks.

    • Matthew Mushall

      OMFG!  That is absolutely incredible.  I've seen some of the videos from CES before, but nothing as thorough.  The practical applications in the consumer and commercial market are almost limitless.  The only downside to this would be the potential to damage the screen.  People tend to take things for granted and it wouldn't be long before the kids start to play a little rough with it or angry patrons throw down their beverage of choice and scratch the screen.  Still, could you imagine a coffee table with this on top or built into it?  What Incredible opportunities!

      Amazing segment, Larry.  Thanks.

    • viable

      Awesome - does this use FTIR like Jeff Hans' work? Or is it akin to the Mitsubishi diamond touch technology. I'm sad to see this commercialized so fast and at the same time, I hope it bootstraps the next evolution in Human-Computer interaction. We're working on a large scale FTIR intallation for a Seattle location now - it won't be installed for 12 months which I now see is 12 months too late!

    • viable

      Awesome - does this use FTIR like Jeff Hans' work? Or is it akin to the Mitsubishi diamond touch technology. I'm sad to see this commercialized so fast and at the same time, I hope it bootstraps the next evolution in Human-Computer interaction. We're working on a large scale FTIR intallation for a Seattle location now - it won't be installed for 12 months which I now see is 12 months too late!

    • Keith Combs

      Awesome video.  Looks like the download center is choking though.

    • Keith Combs

      Awesome video.  Looks like the download center is choking though.

    • Ted Bracewell

      I've always wondered...what are all the trackback posts?

    • Ted Bracewell

      I've always wondered...what are all the trackback posts?

    • Frank Solner

      Great demo Larry! The possiblities are endless. I have a thousand questions but will simply ask three:

       1) Can this is programmed (maybe C#)?

      2) Will this be available to smaller business partners?

      3) Where can we go to get more info?

      Thanks and good luck! Surface is a sure-fire winner! Congrats!

    • Frank Solner

      Great demo Larry! The possiblities are endless. I have a thousand questions but will simply ask three:

       1) Can this is programmed (maybe C#)?

      2) Will this be available to smaller business partners?

      3) Where can we go to get more info?

      Thanks and good luck! Surface is a sure-fire winner! Congrats!

    • RockyH

      I imagine that this will be programable.  Most of it was done with WPF, so it should be just as easy to write applications for this as it is for any other app using WPF.

      Now I just need one for 'testing purposes' of course.

    • RockyH

      I imagine that this will be programable.  Most of it was done with WPF, so it should be just as easy to write applications for this as it is for any other app using WPF.

      Now I just need one for 'testing purposes' of course.

    • Rick Choi

      Wow.. it's really awesome. BTW, I happened to find one little strange thing from the demo when Larry gave a try with paint brush. Larry selected a greenish color from the palette and started painting, and Mark also picked up a brush to paint with pinky color while Larry's drawing. When Mark selected the pinky color, Larry's brush color also changed to pinky one even though he didn't change the color... (it can be found at the end of multi brush demo) Isn't that supposed to support multi color selections for multi players in real "collaborative" environment? Oh.. in that case, the Surface Computer needs to recognize each brush object with some kinda ID to handle it.. like.. PBrush Device accessories for Surface Computer Smiley man.. too many thoughts.. Thanks for the cool stuff anyways Smiley

    • Rick Choi

      Wow.. it's really awesome. BTW, I happened to find one little strange thing from the demo when Larry gave a try with paint brush. Larry selected a greenish color from the palette and started painting, and Mark also picked up a brush to paint with pinky color while Larry's drawing. When Mark selected the pinky color, Larry's brush color also changed to pinky one even though he didn't change the color... (it can be found at the end of multi brush demo) Isn't that supposed to support multi color selections for multi players in real "collaborative" environment? Oh.. in that case, the Surface Computer needs to recognize each brush object with some kinda ID to handle it.. like.. PBrush Device accessories for Surface Computer Smiley man.. too many thoughts.. Thanks for the cool stuff anyways Smiley

    • LarryLarsen

      You might be right but I think I tried for the other color and was a little short of it. Probably user error.

      I would love to try Art Rage on it. Smiley

    • LarryLarsen
      They just let us know who is blogging about this article. I was thinking of moving them off to the right rail. What do you think?
    • Vishal Supekar

      Seems to be very attractive and Interactive. Multiple User Interface something new to look for. Great Applications Entertainmnet games, Shopping, Dining, Media and many more. Definitely will be more in demand. Great Stuff. Excellent Future. Sci- Fi becoming True.

    • Vishal Supekar

      Seems to be very attractive and Interactive. Multiple User Interface something new to look for. Great Applications Entertainmnet games, Shopping, Dining, Media and many more. Definitely will be more in demand. Great Stuff. Excellent Future. Sci- Fi becoming True.

    • webtamer

      The Microsoft WOW factor continues; this is an absolute want to have, touch and play with gadget; although it does not have projected hologram functionality I would not be surprised if Microsoft has it in for rev 2.

       

       

    • webtamer

      The Microsoft WOW factor continues; this is an absolute want to have, touch and play with gadget; although it does not have projected hologram functionality I would not be surprised if Microsoft has it in for rev 2.

       

       

    • kimbaila

      I saw this technology at Siggraph YEARS AGO!! Why is Microsoft acting like it's their big invention?!

      Not only that, the apps and interface design I saw on this technology (years ago) were much more elegant.

      Anyone who thinks this is cool needs to check out Siggraph because the stuff they show there is amazing!

    • kimbaila

      I saw this technology at Siggraph YEARS AGO!! Why is Microsoft acting like it's their big invention?!

      Not only that, the apps and interface design I saw on this technology (years ago) were much more elegant.

      Anyone who thinks this is cool needs to check out Siggraph because the stuff they show there is amazing!

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