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  1. 1. SURFACE COMPUTING 1.INTRODUCTION 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. 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. Consumers will be able to interact with Surface in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues etc. 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. From digital finger painting to a virtual concierge, Surface brings natural interaction to the digital world in a new and exciting way. 1
  2. 2. SURFACE COMPUTING 2.What is Surface Computing? Surface computing is a new way of working with computers that moves beyond the traditional mouse-and-keyboard experience. It is a natural user interface that allows people to interact with digital content the same way they have interacted with everyday items such as photos, paintbrushes and music their entire life: with their hands, with gestures and by putting real-world objects on the surface. Surface computing opens up a whole new category of products for users to interact with. It blurs the lines between the physical and virtual worlds. We really see this as broadening content opportunities and delivery systems. Surface computing is a powerful movement. In fact, it’s as significant as the move from DOS [Disk Operating System] to GUI [Graphic User Interface]. It’s about technology adapting to the user, rather than the user adapting to the technology. Bringing this kind of natural user interface innovation to the computing space is - ―What Surface Computing is all about?” 2
  3. 3. SURFACE COMPUTING 3.History of Surface Computing In 2001, Stevie Bathiche of Microsoft Hardware and Andy Wilson of Microsoft Research began working together on various projects that took advantage of their complementary expertise in the areas of hardware and software. In one of their regular brainstorm sessions, they started talking about an idea for an interactive table that could understand the manipulation of physical pieces and at the same time practical for everyone to use. In 9th October 2001, a virtual team was formed to fully pursue bringing the idea to the next stage of development; Bathiche and Wilson were key members of the team. In early 2003, the virtual team expanded, and within a month, through constant discussion and brainstorming, the first humble prototype was born and nicknamed T1. The model was based on an IKEA table with a hole cut in the top and a sheet of architect vellum used as a diffuser. The evolution of Surface had begun. A variety of early applications were also built, including pinball, a photo browser and a video puzzle. ―T1 Prototype” 3
  4. 4. SURFACE COMPUTING By late 2004, a number of different experimental prototypes were built including ―the tub‖ model, which was encased in a rounded plastic shell, a desk-height model with a square top and cloth-covered sidesAnd even a barheight model that could beused while standing. After extensive testingand user research, the final hardware“Tub Model” design (seen today) was finalized in 2005. 4
  5. 5. SURFACE COMPUTING 4.Key attributes of Surface Computing Surface computing features four key attributes: • Direct interaction.Users can actually ―grab‖ digital information with their hands and interact with content through touch and gesture, without the use of a mouse or keyboard. • Multi‐touch contact. Surface computing recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger as with a typical touch screen, but up to dozens and dozens of items at once. • Multi‐user experience. The horizontal form factor makes iteasy for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face‐to‐face computing experience. 5
  6. 6. SURFACE COMPUTING • Object recognition. Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content. 6
  7. 7. SURFACE COMPUTING 5. Technology behind Surface Computing: Microsoft Surface uses cameras to sense objects, hand gestures and touch. This user input is then processed and displayed using rear projection. Specifically:  Microsoft Surface uses a rear projection system which displays an image onto the underside of a thin diffuser.  Objects such as fingers are visible through the diffuser by series of infrared– sensitive cameras, positioned underneath the display.  An image processing system processes the camera images to detect fingers, custom tags and other objects such as paint brushes when touching the display.  The objects recognized with this system are reported to applications running in the computer so that they can react to object shapes, 2D tags, movement and touch. One of the key components of surface computing is a "multitouch" screen. It is an idea that has been floating around the research community since the 1980s and is swiftly becoming a hip new product interface — Apple's new iPhone has multitouch scrolling and picture manipulation. Multitouch devices accept input from multiple fingers and multiple users simultaneously, allowing for complex gestures, including grabbing, stretching, swiveling and sliding virtual objects across the table. And the Surface has the added advantage of a horizontal screen, so several people can gather around and use it together. Its interface is the exact opposite of the personal computer: cooperative, handson, and designed for public spaces. 7
  8. 8. SURFACE COMPUTING 6.0MICROSOFT SURFACE OVERVIEW Microsoft Surface turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, interactive computing experience. The product provides effortless interaction with digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. In Essence, it’s a surface that comes to life for exploring, learning, sharing, creating, buying and much more. Currently available in select in restaurants, hotels, retail establishments and public entertainment venues, this experience will transform the way people shop, dine, entertain and live. Surface is a 30‐inch display in a table‐like form factor that’s easy for individuals or small groups to interact with in a way that feels familiar, just like in the real world. Surface can simultaneously recognize dozens and dozens of movements such as touch, gestures and actual unique objects that have identification tags similar to bar codes. Surface computing breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology, changing the way people interact with all kinds of everyday content, from photos to maps to menus. The intuitive user interface works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information by using their hands and natural movements. Users are able to access information either on their own or collaboratively with their friends and families, unlike any experience available today. 6.1The Hardware Essentially, Microsoft Surface is a computer embedded in a medium-sized table, with a large, flat display on top that is touch-sensitive. table about three feet high, with a solid base that hides a fairly standard computer equipped with the following components: 8
  9. 9. SURFACE COMPUTING (1)Screen:A diffuser turns the Surface's acrylic tabletop into a large horizontal "multitouch" screen, capable of processing multiple inputs from multiple users. The Surface can also recognize objects by their shapes or by reading coded "domino" tags. (2) Infrared:Surface's "machine vision" operates in the near-infrared spectrum, using an 850-nanometer-wavelength LED light source aimed at the screen. When objects touch the tabletop, the light reflects back and is picked up by multiple infrared cameras. (3) CPU:Surface uses many of the same components found in everyday desktop computers. Wireless communication with devices on the surface is handled using WiFi and Bluetooth antennas. (4) Projector:Microsoft's Surface uses the same DLP light engine found in many rear projectionHDTV’s (High Definition Televisions). The display screen is a rear-projected 9
  10. 10. SURFACE COMPUTING DLP display. The cameras can read a nearly infinite number of simultaneous touches and are limited only by processing power. Right now, Surface is optimized for 52 touches, or enough for four people to use all 10 fingers at once and still have 12 objects sitting on the table. The display screen is a 4:3 rear-projected DLP display measuring 30 inches diagonally. The screen resolution is a relatively modest 1024x768, but the touch detection system had an effective resolution of 1280x960. Unlike the screen resolution, which for the time being is constant, the touch resolution varies according to the size of the screen used—it is designed to work at a resolution of 48 dots per inch. The top layer also works as a diffuser, making the display clearly visible at any angle. Unlike most touch screens, Surface does not use heat or pressure sensors to indicate when someone has touched the screen. Instead, five tiny cameras take snapshots of the surface many times a second, similar to how an optical mouse works, but on a larger scale. This allows Surface to capture many simultaneous touches and makes it easier to track movement, although the disadvantage is that the system cannot (at the moment) sense pressure. Five cameras mounted beneath the table read objects and touches on the acrylic surface above, which is flooded with near-infrared light to make such touches easier to pick out. The cameras can read a nearly infinite number of simultaneous touches and are limited only by processing power. Right now, Surface is optimized for 52 touches, or enough for four people to use all 10 fingers at once and still have 12 objects sitting on the table. The unit is rugged and designed to take all kinds of abuse. Senior director of marketing Mark Bolger demonstrated this quite dramatically by slamming his hand onto the top of the screen as hard as he could—it made a loud thump, but the unit itself didn't move. The screen is also water resistant. At an earlier demonstration, a sceptical reporter tested this by pouring his drink all over the device. Microsoft has designed the unit to put up with this kind of punishment because it envisions Surface being used in environments such as restaurants where hard impacts and spills are always on the menu. 10
  11. 11. SURFACE COMPUTING The choice of 4:3 screens was, according to Nigel Keam, mostly a function of the availability of light engines (projectors) when the project began. Testing and user feedback have shown that the 4:3 ratio works well, and the addition of a slight amount of extra acrylic on each side leaves the table looking like it has normal dimensions. Built-in wireless and Bluetooth round out the hardware capabilities of Surface. A Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in track pad is available to diagnose problems with the unit, although for regular use it is not required. 6.2System Software Microsoft Surface works much like another Microsoft product, Media Centre, in that the main application runs on top of Windows and takes over the whole screen. Like Media Centre, it is designed to be difficult to exit the application without using a mouse or keyboard The various demonstration programs are accessed from a main menu, which scrolls left and right in an endless loop. The user moves the selection by swiping back and forth and selects an application with a single tap. This works reasonably well and feels quite natural. When an application is selected, a swirly purple ring appears in the centre of the screen to indicate that the program is loading. There were eight different programs available: Water, Video Puzzle, Paint, Music, Photos, Casino, a T-Mobile demonstration app, and Dining. Much of the software was written using Microsoft's WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), though the XNA development toolkit, a framework originally created for writing PC and Xbox 360 games, is also supported. XNA allows programmers to use managed code written in C# to manipulate various DirectX features; managed code frees the programmer from worrying about handling memory, allocating and discarding memory automatically. 11
  12. 12. SURFACE COMPUTING 6.3Working Surface features a touch interface, but it doesn't use a touch screen. Instead, five separate cameras are used to record motion on the table's surface. Five cameras were needed because of field angle issues. In order to get the table as low as it is, five cameras are used so that each one can have a small field of view. That translates into better resolution and speed (measured in pixels/second) than a single camera with an exceptionally wideangle view of the table surface. The five cameras are near infrared devices, but that's not because they are trying to read heat signatures from fingertips (or other body parts) on the table. Instead, it's because the entire surface of Surface is bathed in light; by illuminating the top of the table, the cameras can easily see when things are placed on it. Shining colour light across the surface of the table would spoil the effect that Microsoft wants, so near-infrared light is used for invisible Illumination. Those cameras, which are located below the acrylic surface of the table, can read a nearly infinite number of simultaneous touches, and are limited only by processing power. Microsoft has developed a 3/4" square tag called a "domino" that can be attached to objects so that Surface can interact with them on the fly. Instead of relying on RFID, the domino tag uses dots to encode its information. There is a single dot in the center of the tag, three dots on one side for orientation, and space for eight more dots that are read as data. Essentially, it's a one-byte data tag. 12
  13. 13. SURFACE COMPUTING 7. Hardware & Software Specifications: The software platform runs on a custom version of Windows Vista. Wired Ethernet 10/100, Wireless 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. Intel Core Quad Xeon @ 2.66GHz 4GB DDR2-1066 RAM 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive It has a custom motherboard form factor about the size of two ATX motherboards. Surface applications are written using either Windows Presentation Foundation or Microsoft XNA technology. 5 video infrared cameras 13
  14. 14. SURFACE COMPUTING 8. FEATURES: Multi-touch display. The Microsoft Surface display is capable of multi-touch interaction, recognizing dozens and dozens of touches simultaneously, including fingers, hands, gestures and objects. Perceptive Pixel’s touch screens work via frustrated total internal reflection Technology. The acrylic surface has infrared LEDs on the edges. When undisturbed, the light passes along predictable paths, a process known as total internal reflection. When one or more fingers touch the surface, the light diffuses at the contact points, changing 14
  15. 15. SURFACE COMPUTING the internal-reflection pathways. A camera below the surface captures the diffusion and sends the information to image-processing software, which translates it into a command. Multitouch technology has been around since early research at the University of Toronto in 1982. With multitouch devices, one or more users activate advanced functions by touching a screen in more than one place at the same time. For example, a person could expand or shrink images by pinching the edges of the display window with the thumb and forefinger of one hand, explained Microsoft principal researcher Bill Buxton. Users could also, while in contact with a point on a map, touch other controls to make the system display information, such as nearby restaurants, about the area surrounding the indicated location. This is accomplished much as it has been in PCs for years. For example, desktop users can press the Alt and Tab keys at the same time to toggle between open windows. The OS translates the simultaneous keystrokes into a single command. Industry observers say tabletop computers are likely to become a popular multitouch-screen implementation. Because multiple users at different positions will work with tabletop systems, the computers must be able to display material in different parts of the screen and move controls around to keep them from blocking reoriented content. The systems can determine users’ locations based on the positions from which they input commands or data. The computers then orient their displays toward the tabletop edge nearest to the user. Vendors are beginning to release commercialmultitouch systems. For example, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories’ Diamond Touch table, which includes a developer’s kit, can be used for small-group collaboration. 15
  16. 16. SURFACE COMPUTING  Horizontal orientation. The 30-inch display in a table-sized form factor allows users to share, explore and create experiences together, enabling a truly collaborative computing experience.  Dimensions. Microsoft Surface is 22 inches high, 21 inches deep and 42 inches wide.  Materials. The Microsoft Surface tabletop is acrylic, and its interior frame is powder- coated steel. 16
  17. 17. SURFACE COMPUTING Perceptive Pixel Computer scientists see technologies such as surface computing and multitouch as the key to a new era of ubiquitous computing, where processing power is embedded in almost every object and everything is interactive. Last year, New York University professor Jeff Han launched a company called Perceptive Pixel, which builds six-figure plus custom multitouch drafting tables and enormous interactive wall displays for large corporations and military situation rooms. "I firmly believe that in the near future, we will have wallpaper displays in every hallway, in every desk. Every surface will be a point of interaction with a computer," Han says, "and for that to happen; we really need interfaces like this." Perceptive Pixel’s Multi-touch The display’s surface is a six-millimetre-thick piece of clear acrylic, with infrared LEDs on the edges. Left undisturbed, the light passes along predictable paths within the acrylic, a process diffuses at the contact point, causing the acrylic’s internal 17
  18. 18. SURFACE COMPUTING reflection pathways to change. A camera below the surface captures the diffusion and sends the information to image-processing software, which can read multiple touches simultaneously and translate them into a command. The system sends information about screen touches to applications via the lightweight Open Sound Control protocol, utilized for network-based communication between computers and multimedia devices, and User Datagram Protocol data transport technology. The applications then take the appropriate actions. Perceptive Pixel, which has built a prototype that measures 36 _ 27 inches, is still working on applications for its displays, Han noted. They could be used for collaborative work on design-related and other projects, perhaps in place of interactive whiteboards, he said. Short-term success for a technology can be measured by how much attention a product gathers when it is new. Long-term success is measured by how effectively that product disappears into the everyday routine of life. Surface computing has enormous potential to do both — it is a splashy new computer interface, surrounded by hype, but it is also, quite literally, furniture. It is a technology in its infancy, where even the engineers behind it can't predict its full impact; but the possibilities are everywhere, underhand and underfoot — on every surface imaginable 18
  19. 19. SURFACE COMPUTING 9.Applications of Surface Computing: 9.1 Water Water is used as an "attract mode" for the Surface desktop, and it is certainly attractive. A unique feature that comes preinstalled with Surface is the pond effect "Attract" application. Simply, it is a "picture" of water with leaves and rocks within it. By touching the screen, you can create ripples in the water just like you were putting your hand into a real stream Additionally, the pressure of touch alters the size of the ripple created, and objects placed into the water create a barrier that ripples bounce off, just as they would in real life 19
  20. 20. SURFACE COMPUTING 9.2 Music The Music application works like a virtual jukebox, displaying music arranged by album and allowing the user to flip over albums, select songs, and drag them to the "Now Playing" section. In addition to playing music that is already stored on the unit's hard drive, Music can also transfer songs from portable music players. 9.3 Photos 20
  21. 21. SURFACE COMPUTING Sharing photos is a much more unrestricted activity. Photos are arranged into albums that look like piles. Tapping the pile once spreads it around the screen and from there user can drag, rotate, and resize the images. Since Surface can detect many touches at the same time, multiple people can sort and resize pictures. 9.4 Video Puzzle Video Puzzle showcases the power of the little identification tags mentioned above.The tags consist of a pattern of variously-sized dots; Keam mentioned that the dotscurrently represent an 8-bit code (256 permutations) but that 128-bit tags were in theworks. The neat thing about the tags is that they can be very nearly transparent and the system will still pick them up. Not only can the tags transmit numerical information, butthe geometrical arrangement of the dots means that Surface can also tell, to a high degreeof accuracy, how much the tag (and therefore the object) has rotated. In Video Puzzle, these virtually invisible tags are placed upon small squares ofglass. When the pieces of glass are put on the table, the screen starts playing video clipsunderneath each one. Because the video moves whenever you move the squares, 21
  22. 22. SURFACE COMPUTING itcreates the illusion that the glass itself is displaying the video, which looks very futuristic.As you move the squares around, you quickly realize that the video clips are allpieces ofa larger video. Flipping the glass squares over inverts the video playing underneath,making completing the puzzle even more of a challenge. When you complete the puzzle correctly, the system senses the achievement,congratulates you, and shows you the time taken to finish. According to Mark Bolger, thecurrent record for finishing when the pieces are fully randomized is 1 minute and 53seconds. On my first attempt, I finished in just over 2 minutes, but the squares were all right side up to begin with (Microsoft is nice to journalists, it seems). 9.5 DiningRestaurant uses The application allows diners to see a virtual menu on screen. Items can be dragged into a central ―ordering area‖ order right from the table beverages and food selections then split the bill and pay electronically at the same time by putting customer’s card on the surface. 22
  23. 23. SURFACE COMPUTING 9.6 Paint Paint programs have been a natural demonstration application for new platforms ever since MacPaint graced the first Macintosh back in 1984. Surface’s paint program iseven lighter on features than MacPaint was, but the natural user interface makes up forthis deficiency. There are three draw modes that can be toggled by touching an icon on the bottom of the toolbar: brush, paint, and reveal, the last of which is kind of a negative brush thatshows a background bitmap underneath. The brush mode is a bit spotty and tends to skip,but the paint mode is smooth and fun. You can draw using one finger, all your fingers atonce (good for drawing hair), the palm of your hand, or using any naturalobject such as a regular paintbrush. Using the program is like having aflashback to finger painting backin kindergarten (minus the mess), and certainly children will have tons of fun with thiskind of application. 23
  24. 24. SURFACE COMPUTING That said, having this great touch interface absolutely cries out for a more fullfeatured program, something that can mix colors (like Microsoft's own paint program that comes with the Tablet PC version of Windows) and play around with textures and naturalmaterials. I immediately thought of Fractal Design Painter and how much fun it would be with this interface. Of course, real digital artists have been using advanced pressure-sensitive graphics tablets for years, and Surface is not aimed at replacing this kind of workflow. Still, a more full-featured Paint program would be nice to have, and Keam mentioned that the team is still deciding whether or not to add features to Paint or instead take an existing paint program and rework it for Surface. 9.7 Casino The Casino application was developed in cooperation with Harrah's ofLas Vegasand is a good example of how Surface can be used in a hospitality environment. Thebackground image is a giant map of the hotel and casino, with all the attractions markedfor further inspection. Hotel customers can place their card anywhere on the screen andreserve tickets to any of these shows. The background map can be easily scrolled with abrush of the hand, and zoomed in and out by performing the two-finger pinch. 24
  25. 25. SURFACE COMPUTING 9.8T-mobile stores Two cell phones can be placed on the surface and compare the different price points and features, experiment with ring tones and look at plans then program the phone to your liking and have it all set to use before you walk out of the store 25
  26. 26. SURFACE COMPUTING Who’s using Surface Today? Currently only commercially available and being used in the retail, hospitality, automotive, banking and healthcare industries. Current customers are AT&T, T-Mobile, the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Sheraton Hotels, Disney Innovations House in California, Hotel 1000 in Seattle, Harrah’s Entertainment, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. 26
  27. 27. SURFACE COMPUTING 10.Advantages: Large surface area to view different windows and applications. Data Manipulation - Selecting, moving, rotating and resizing (manipulating objects on the screen is similar to manipulating them in the manual world). Quick and easy to use. More Than One User –Several people can orient themselves on different sides of the surface to interact with an application simultaneously (Max 52 points of touch). Objects Recognition - Increased functionality aiding user in speed and ease of use. 11.Disadvantages: Incredibly expensive and not Portable. Currently designed only in some areas. Loss of Privacy - Open for many to view. Tailored to high end clients. 27
  28. 28. SURFACE COMPUTING 12.Surface Computing-In Future Computer scientists hope to incorporate this kind of technology in peoples’ daily lives… Future goals are to surround people with intelligent surfaces-look up recipes on kitchen counter or table, control TV with coffee table, etc As form factors continue to evolve, surface computing will be in any number of environments— schools, businesses, homes — and in any number of form factors. 28
  29. 29. SURFACE COMPUTING 13.Conclusion: Microsoft Surface is the future of computers. Surface Computing brings to life a whole new way to interact with information that engages the senses, improves collaboration and empowers consumers. It takes existing technology and presents it in a new way. It isn't simply a touch screen, but more of a touch-grab-move-slide-resize-and-place-objects-ontop-of-screen and this opens up new possibilities that weren't there before. By utilizing the best combination of connected software, services and hardware developing surface computing products that push computing boundaries, deliver new experiences that break down barriers between users and technology. 29
  30. 30. SURFACE COMPUTING 14.References: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 30