I’m sure you’ve heard of (and maybe even interacted with) Microsoft’s Surface. It’s a multitouch table that can be found in banks, hotels, and AT&T stores. An example of its function: at an AT&T store you can place down two smartphones and the table will recognize their presence and provide with specifications and features to help you make a purchasing decision. Surface is known for its multitouch and object recognition capabilities. This week at CES 2011 Microsoft detailed the next generation Surface dubbed “Surface 2.0 Experience.” Building on top of the original Surface functionality, the new experience features PixelSense technology, “which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.” Microsoft explains, “PixelSense gives an LCD display the power to recognize fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen, including more than 50 simultaneous touch points. With PixelSense, pixels in the display see what’s touching the screen and that information is immediately processed and interpreted.” For instance, in addition to recognizing touch inputs like your fingers, Surface can now “see” things that touch the screen. For example, if you placed a piece of paper with the words “Hello, world” printed on it on top of the Surface display, the software will recognize and interpret the letters instantly. In a word, Surface has become smarter.
Microsoft has collaborated with Samsung to create the next physical Surface table called “SUR40.” Table specs: 40-inch 1920×1080 HD multitouch display, 2.9GHz AMD Athlon II X2 dual core processor with AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU. And now that the table comes in a thinner form factor (it’s four inches thin) customers can mount the table onto a wall if the space calls for it. Otherwise, standard or custom table legs can be designed and requested.
At $7,600 the Surface is still geared toward business customers and not the general consuming public. Companies like Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm Corp., Red Bull GmbH, Royal Bank of Canada, and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts have expressed their interest in developing custom software for the Surface and deploying it at their respective locations. SUR40 will be available “later in 2011” in 23 countries around the world. Look after the break for official PR and a video demonstration of the new Surface experience in action.
The BendDesk, a research projected created by members of the Media Computing Group, is an attempt to converge digital and physical workspaces into one desk. The concept desk features a curved multitouch display and supports up to ten touch points. The display can bring up digital content like documents, photos, or videos. And thanks to its ergonomically impressive design, the digital desk doubles as a physical desk; it can easily support a laptop, paperwork, pens and pencils on the horizontal surface. For now the BendDesk is merely an in-house concept project, so don’t expect to see something like finding a place in your room any time soon. The best we can do is watch it in all its futuristic glory in video demonstration form above.
Today medical technology company Sectra formally unveiled the Virtual Autopsy Table, which is now called the Sectra Visualization Table. It was previewed and detailed last October.
With Sectra Visualization Table, a 46-inch medical multi-touch display, multiple users can interact collaboratively with the real-size 3D images generated by CT and MRI scanners to gain deeper understanding and insight into the functions and processes inside the body. They can, for example, visualize different kinds of tissues and cut through sections with a virtual knife.
According to Engadget the table is now available “to the masses”. For more information on the awesome tech, head over to Sectra’s website. There you’ll find a new video demonstration. Full PR after the break.
A group of tinkerers have devised a way to hook up an iPhone 4 to a large multitouch surface to display and interact with the device’s interface like you’ve never seen before. Making “Table Connect for iPhone” work is super simple. All you need is a jailbroken iPhone 4 running a dedicated app, a 30-pin dock connector cable, and of course that gorgeous 58-inch multitouch table. The iPhone plugs right into the 30-pin connector located at the base of the table and “immediately after it is attached, the magic starts to happen,” says the creators. Watch said magic unfold in the video above, and look in the gallery below for some mockup stills. For an alpha firmware the transition appears to be buttery smooth.
We’ve seen multitouch surface tables before, but never have we seen them quite as stylish and visually attractive as the Touchy Remix from Intactlab. Being heralded as “the marriage of precision engineering and quality design” the Touchy Remix was designed to support and enhance collaboration with surface computing. Its minimalistic and curvy shape attracts people to sit around it, unlike the boxy Microsoft Surface-esque tables that come off as uninviting. It’s made from a fiberglass shell built around an aluminum chassis. Though its design is most prominent, I’ll share some internal notes with you: it features a 40″ WXGA (720p HD) internal projection screen and runs custom software from Intactlab that comes preloaded onto an integrated Mac mini; there’s four USB ports and a dock for an iPod. See additional pictures below and a demo video of it in use after the break.
Ideum’s 100-inch multitouch table has 86 viewable inches, a 16 x 5 aspect ratio, and a 2,304 x 800 resolution. The coolest feature? It supports 50 simultaneous touch points; most surface tables like these can only recognize a few touch points. It also has the ability to show images in radio, microwave, infrared, visibile, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma rays. It currently sits at Space Chase Gallery at the Adventure Science Center.
It’s hard enough you aren’t actually holding mallets and playing with a real puck. Add in some seisure-inducing flashing lights and you’ve got one heck of a challenge here. See for yourself in the video above.