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.
This is one slick concept machine. Razer, the maker of high-end precision gaming products, revealed a concept mobile PC designed for gamers on the go. The Razer Switchblade is based on the Intel Atom processor and packs an ultra-sensitive, 7-inch capacitive multitouch touchscreen (1024 x 600) and a dynamic tactile keyboard. The keyboard is the most intriguing part of the design; key layout and configuration can be changed on-the-fly based on game content and user requirements. For example, it can serve as a standard QWERTY keyboard as you’re browsing a website inside a browser and the next minute it can morph into a keyboard made specifically to play a game like World of Warcraft where the keys become quick access points for magical potions and spells. So how does it all work? Easy; just like the top half of the device, the keyboard is actually a large LCD screen in disguise with physical keys layered on top of it. Inside the custom Razer OS skin the user can tweak the keyboard to make the keys function however they want. Customization is left up to the user’s imagination. Sure, you can make the keys display video playback controls such as play, pause, fast-forward, etc.; but Razer is a gaming company at heart and they are hoping that gamers will find the customization options to be helpful in optimizing the way they play games on the go when a full keyboard and mouse combo are not present.
As awesome as that keyboard hopes to be, keep in mind that the Switchblade is still a portable notebook. Razer’s custom skin can be hidden to reveal a standard copy of Windows 7. There are also USB ports (so a mouse can theoretically be connected), a mini HDMI port, and a webcam. Bluetooth and WiFi are also inside. The company is still determining whether or not to pack 3G capability with it. That’s right–this concept notebook unveiled at CES 2011 is actually coming to market in the near future. Razer is mum on exact release date and price, but you can expect to see this portable gaming machine attempt its transformation of the mouse/keyboard paradigm sometime within the next year or so. Full PR after the break.
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.
At this year’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Dell unveiled a brand new super cool laptop design with the Inspiron Duo. The Duo doubles as a netbook and tablet thanks to a swiveling 10.1 inch capacitive multitouch display. What looks like a standard netbook at first glance can instantly be transformed into a tablet device by swiveling the screen from within the frame. It’s powered by a dual-core Intel Atom N550 chip and runs Windows 7. Additional specs and pricing have yet to be disclosed. Dell says the unconventionally designed hybrid will be released into the wilds later this year. Look after the break for a brief video showing off the swivel action and signs of capacitive touch in Microsoft Surface Globe software.
Update: A new video sufaced today featuring Dell Product Marketer Dave Zavelson handling the Inspiron Duo and showing off photo and video touch-based applications. It’s sitting after the break for your viewing pleasure.
Gregory Kaufman, a student at Kansas City Art Institute, imagined and implemented “DJ touch screen interface and gesture interaction concepts” for his senior degree project. Though it’s not quite as visually stunning as the rear projection setup we spied earlier this week, it does bring a new kind of functionality to the up-and-coming DJ multitouch game–the ability to replicate a standard DJ turntable-mixer setup using a touch-based interface. Check out the video embedded above to hear all about from Kaufman and see a demonstration of the concept tech.
Check out this crazy amazing homemade DJ setup called Token Concept. Sure it uses rear projection video on glass for the cool visual effect, but the multitouch implementation is far out. Into the future. It’s running off a Traktor Pro controller called Emulator.
A bunch of bright minds at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany have been working on this research project they call “multi-toe interaction.” Basically it’s a multitouch floor that can recognize a person based on their shoe pattern. But I’ll let the masterminds explain:
The key factor of the shown design is that it is based on frustrated total internal reflection sensing. FTIR allows it to identify and track users based on their sole patterns. The floor recognizes foot postures, distinguishes users who interact from people walking by, and enables high-precision interaction. In addition, the floor can approximate users’ head positions based on the pressure profile in the soles and it extracts enough details from soles to allow users to play first person shooters by balancing their feet.
So precise! Not so sure if this can ever be practically implemented, but it’s always good to see unique implementations of a multitouch interface. Even if it involves stinky feet.
Microsoft Research is back with a new way to interact with their Surface multitouch table.
Manual Deskterity is a prototype digital drafting table that supports both pen and touch input. We explore a division of labor between pen and touch that flows from natural human skill and differentiation of roles of the hands. We also explore the simultaneous use of pen and touch to support novel compound gestures.
The combination of pen and touch input makes for a wide range of gestures like holding, tapping, dragging, and crossing that can be used in ways you likely have never seen before. Check it out in the video demonstation above. I smell a hint of Courier here.
Mixr will be one of the first professional DJ applications for the iPad. The iPad’s large multitouch 9-inch screen will be able to accomodate two fully featured turntables with options for “cross-fading, equalizing, cue, drag & drop tracks, and full effects such as delays and auto filter.” You can create your own libraries, digital DJ crates, and even record your own mixes using tracks from your iTunes music library. As fun and exciting this all sounds, there’s an overarching theme here to be considered: apps like Mixr are just the beginning for the iPad. Thanks to the large screen and intuitive touch controls, the App Store will start to flood with brand new apps made specifically to take advantage of the tablet’s features, inside and out. If you thought the App Store launch on the iPhone was buzz-worthy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Students at the University of Tromso in Norway have put together a ginormous interactive display wall. The 22-megapixel display utilizes 28 projectors to spit out a resolution of 7,168 x 3,072. It’s multitouch capabilities allow users to interact with the wall in a myriad of ways, Tom Cruise-style; gestures include hand swipes for panning and snapping fingers for zooming in. And all of this can be down without actually touching the wall. But how is that possible? A number of floor-mounted cameras pick up your gestures in 1D and a 30 node computer setup manages to group together the various perspectives to determine 2D location. In the demo video above, the wall outputs a 13.3 gigapixel highly detailed image of Trosmo. Check it out and be blown away be its awesome power.