Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Microsoft Surface: The Computer Is Personal Again

What is Microsoft Surface? No, it's not last year's cancelled hit on NBC (Though it will be on the Today show later this morning). It's the next wave of computing. Mary Jo broke the story a week ago, and then again yesterday morning. Popular Mechanics got an inside look earlier this year, and posted this video earlier today. Robert Scoble got some behind-the-scenes information on how Microsoft Surface works using WPF, and how the system can display video on those glass tiles, like in the demo.

You've seen this technology before. It started as "TouchLight". Andy Wilson was on Channel 9 demoing TouchLight in August 2005. Bill Gates did a public demo of this technology at my first CES in 2006. (Demo starts at about 15:40). Todd Bishop did a feature on it in March 2006, and I got to try it out for myself in the Microsoft Museum later that year.

Then came PlayAnywhere. On10's Laura Foy got to play with it at MSR, and then later saw it combined with PlayTogether to show how video games might interact with the real world. Popular Mechanics got a look at PlayTogether this past March, which also has video.

If you want to learn more about how this works under the hood, Andy Wilson posted a research paper on TouchLight that really gets into the nitty-gritty of how the early prototypes worked. There is also a paper on PlayAnywhere, which was the next incarnation of this project. Finally, you can see how today's third evolution in the design works with an in-depth look from Popular Mechanics.

Be sure to play around with the Microsoft Surface website. There are some really cool demos there of new ways to interact with phones, digital cameras, Zunes... even your next martini.

Other Links: Press Release #1 | Press Release #2 | Microsoft Surface Virtual Press Room