Today at The Wall Street Journal's D: All Thing's Digital conference in Carlsbad, California, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a new product called Microsoft Surface, a multi-touch sensitive surface computer running a highly customized version of Windows Vista that the company hopes will "change the way people interact with technology".
Microsoft Surface is a 30-inch horizontal display that sits on a nearly 2-foot tall table fully controlled by touch, as you manipulate objects on screen with your fingers. Even more impressive it can identify real-world objects placed upon it, in a video from Popular Mechanics you can actually see how a Wi-Fi capable digital camera is immediately recognized when placed on the table and watch as pictures spill out onto the surface.
Five special infrared cameras that can sense nearby objects are mounted beneath the screen to capture users input, allowing simultaneous multi-touch input from up to four different users at the same time. The product is expected to cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and it is initially being aimed to be used in shops, hotel lobbies, casinos and bars.
Microsoft's new surface computer appears to fit in with its connected entertainment focus and long-term vision of the digital home of the future where people can easily and naturally interact with the digital world. Among other tangible prototypes at the group's Seattle headquarters includes a talking user interface installed inside a wall called "Grace" and computerized kitchen work surfaces which can recognize ingredients and guide on recipes.