Continuing research into applications of multi-touch, Microsoft have just announced their multi-touch and tangible interface named Surface. A 30 inch display built into this table demonstrates many of the models of interaction we have seen previously, but is the first to be mass produced for market. Using camera tracking and a wide angle projector, the interface can recognise fingertips and visual markers (for object identification).
The slick marketing videos on the website show finger movement dragging and rotating photos & video, emailing them, finger painting and using a paintbrush. Initial rollout will be for commercial partners, so there demonstrations of ordering food in a restaurant, finding directions on a map etc. They also show applications of sharing images and music by placing devices onto the table and dragging content between them, although these videos are just concepts.
The origins page describes the projects beginnings in 2001. More on this later.
Popular Mechanics has a behind the scenes video.
“The company is selling the Surface for between $5,000 and $10,000 each, but aims to bring prices down to consumer levels in three to five years and introduce various shapes and forms” – Reuters