Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface Computing Comes to Life

First commercially
available surface computer from Microsoft breaks down barriers and provides
effortless interaction with information using touch, natural gestures and
physical objects.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — May 29, 2007 — Picture a surface
that can recognize physical objects from a paintbrush to a cell phone and
allows hands-on, direct control of content such as photos, music and maps.
Today at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, Microsoft
Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer will unveil Microsoft Surface™, the first in a new
category of surface computing products from Microsoft that breaks down
traditional barriers between people and technology. Surface turns an ordinary
tabletop into a vibrant, dynamic surface that provides effortless interaction
with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical
objects. Beginning at the end of this year, consumers will be able to interact
with Surface in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public
entertainment venues.

The intuitive user interface works without a traditional
mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information on
their own or collaboratively with their friends and families, just like in the
real world. Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that small
groups can use at the same time. From digital finger painting to a virtual
concierge, Surface brings natural interaction to the digital world in a new and
exciting way.

“With Surface, we are creating more intuitive ways for
people to interact with technology,” Ballmer said. “We see this as a
multibillion dollar category, and we envision a time when surface computing
technologies will be pervasive, from tabletops and counters to the hallway
mirror. Surface is the first step in realizing that vision.”

The Human Touch

Microsoft Surface puts people in control of their
experiences with technology, making everyday tasks entertaining, enjoyable and
efficient. Imagine ordering a beverage during a meal with just the tap of a
finger. Imagine quickly browsing through music and dragging favorite songs onto
a personal playlist by moving a finger across the screen. Imagine creating and
sending a personal postcard of vacation pictures instantly to friends and
family, while still wearing flip-flops.

Surface also features the ability to recognize physical
objects that have identification tags similar to bar codes. This means that
when a customer simply sets a wine glass on the surface of a table, a
restaurant could provide them with information about the wine they’re ordering,
pictures of the vineyard it came from and suggested food pairings tailored to
that evening’s menu. The experience could become completely immersive, letting
users access information on the wine-growing region and even look at
recommended hotels and plan a trip without leaving the table.

Surface computing at Microsoft is an outgrowth of a
collaborative effort between the Microsoft Hardware and Microsoft Research
teams, which were struck by the opportunity to create technology that would
bridge the physical and virtual worlds. What started as a high-level concept
grew into a prototype and evolved to today’s market-ready product that will
transform the way people shop, dine, entertain and live. It’s a major
advancement that moves beyond the traditional user interface to a more natural way
of interacting with information. Surface computing, which Microsoft has been
working on for a number of years, features four key attributes:

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Full Press Release

3 thoughts on “Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface Computing Comes to Life

  1. Definitely take a look at the on10 video. It really opened my eyes to what this kind of device can do. Using it as a restaurant table sounds great until I imagine my son stabbing the screen with his fork…

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