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Developed by Microsoft
Initial release April 17 2008
OS Windows Vista
Microsoft Surface (Codename: Milan), is a Multi-touch product from Microsoft which is
developed as a software and hardware combination technology that allows a user, or
multiple users, to manipulate digital content by the use of natural motions, hand gestures,
or physical objects. It was announced on May 29, 2007 at D5 conference. Initial
customers will be in the hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, retail, public
entertainment venues and the military for tactical overviews. The preliminary launch was
on April 17, 2008, when Surface became available for customer use in AT&T stores. The
Surface is also being used in the CBS series CSI: MIAMI, where the crime lab uses it for
investigation purposes, the MSNBC coverage of the 2008 US presidential election,
Disneyland’s future home exhibits, and various hotels and casinos.
5 Applications Development
6 See also
8 External links
Surface is essentially a Windows Vista PC tucked inside a table, topped with a 30-inch
reflective surface in a clear acrylic frame. A projector underneath the surfaceprojects an
image onto its underside, while five cameras in the machine's housing record reflections of
infrared light from human fingertips. The camera can also recognize objects placed on the
surface if those objects have specially-designed quot;tagsquot; applied to them. Users can interact
with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes
across the screen, or by placing and moving tagged objects. Surface has been optimized to
respond to 52 touches at a time. During a demonstration with a reporter, Mark Bolger, the
Surface Computing group's marketing director, quot;dippedquot; his finger in an on-screen paint
palette, then dragged it across the screen to draw a smiley face. Then he used all 10 fingers
at once to give the face a full head of hair.
Using the specially-designed quot;tagsquot; on objects, Microsoft Surface can automatically offer
additional wine choices tailored to the dinner being eaten based on the type of wine set on
Prices will reportedly be $5,000 to $10,000 per unit. However Microsoft said it expects
prices to drop enough to makeconsumer versions feasible in 2010.
Partner companies plan to use the Surface in their hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. The
Surface is to be used to choose meals at restaurants, plan vacations and spots to visit from
the hotel room. Starwood Hotels plan to allow users to drop a credit card on the table to
pay for music, books, and other amenities offered at the resort. In AT&T stores, use of the
Surface include interactive presentations of plans, coverage, and phone features, in addition
to dropping two different phones on the table and having the customer be able to view and
compare prices, features, and plans. MBNBC's coverage of the 2008 US presidential
election uses Surface to quickly and easily share with viewers information and analysi of s
the race leading up to the election. The anchor analyzes polling and election results, views
trends and demographic information and explores county maps to determine voting
patterns and predict outcomes, all with the flick of his finger. In some hotels and casinos,
users can do a range of things such as, watch videos, view maps, order drinks, play games,
and chat and flirt with people between Surface tables.
The technology behind Surface is called Multi-touch. It has at least a 25-year history,
beginning in 1982, with pioneering work being done at theUniversity of Toronto (multi-
touch tablets) and Bell Labs (multi-touch screens). The product idea for Surface was
initially conceptualized in 2001 by Steven Bathiche of Microsoft Hardware and Andy
Wilson of Microsoft Research. In October 2001, a virtual team was formed with Bathiche
and Wilson as key members, to bring the idea to the next stage of development.
In 2003, the team presented the idea to the Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, in a group
review. Later, the virtual team was expanded and a prototype nicknamed T1 was produced
within a month. The prototype was based on an IKEA table with a hole cut in the top and a
sheet of architect vellum used as a diffuser. The team also developed some applications,
including pinball, a photo browser and a video puzzle. Over the next year, Microsoft built
more than 85 early prototypes for Surface. The final hardware design was completed in
A similar concept was used in the 2002 science fiction movie Minority Report and in the
2005 science fiction movie The Island, by Sean Bean's character quot;Merrickquot;. As noted in the
DVD commentary, the director Steven Spielberg stated the concept of the device came
from consultation with Microsoft during the making of the movie. One of the film's
technology consultant's associates from MIT later joined Microsoft to work on the Surface
Surface was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 30, 2007 at The Wall
Street Journal's 'D: All Things Digital' conference in Carlsbad, California. Surface
Computing is part of Microsoft's Productivity and Extended Consumer Experiences Group,
which is within the Entertainment & Devices division. The first few companies to deploy
Surface will include Harrah's Entertainment, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, T-
Mobile and a distributor, International Game Technology.
On April 17, 2008 AT&T became the first retail location to launch Surface. In June 2008
Harrah’s Entertainment launched Micros Surface at Rio iBar and Disneyland
launched it in Tomorrowland, Inoventions Dream Home.
On September 8, 2008 MSNBC began using the Surface to work with election maps for the
2008 US Presidential Election on air. MSNBC's political director, Chuck Todd, was placed
at the helm.
Microsoft notes four main components being important in Surface's interface: direct
interaction, multi-touch contact, a multi-user experience, and object recognition.
Direct interaction refers to the user's ability to simply reach out and touch the interface of
an application in order to interact with it, without the need for a mouse or keyboard. Multi-
touch contact refers to the ability to have multiple contact points with an interface, unlike
with a mouse, where there is only one cursor. Multi-user is a benefit of multi-touch --
several people can orient themselves on different sides of the surface to interact with an
application simultaneously. Object recognition refers to the device's ability to recognize the
presence and orientation of tagged objects placed on top of it.
The technology allows non-digital objects to be used as input devices. In one example, a
normal paint brush was used to create a digital painting in the software. This is made
possible by the fact that, in using cameras for input, the system does not rely on restrictive
properties required of conventional touchscreen or touchpad devices such as the
capacitance, electrical resistance, or temperature of the tool used (see Touchscreen).
The computer's quot;visionquot; is created by a near-infrared, 850-nanometer-wavelength LED
light source aimed at the surface. When an object touches the tabletop, the light is reflected
to multiple infrared cameras with a net resolution of 1280 x 960, allowing it to sense, and
react to items touching the tabletop.
Surface will ship with basic applications, including photos, music, virtual concierge, and
games, that can be customized for the customers.
Surface is a 30-inch (76 cm) display in a table-like form factor, 22 inches (56 cm) high, 21
inches (53 cm) deep, and 42 inches (107 cm) wide.. The Surface tabletop is acrylic, and
its interior frame is powder-coated steel. The software platform runs on a custom version of
Windows Vista and has wired Ethernet 10/100, wireless 802.11 b/g, and Bluetooth 2.0
connectivity. Surface applications are written using either Windows Presentation
Foundation or Microsoft XNA technology.
At Microsoft's MSDN Conference, Bill Gates told developers of quot;Maximumquot; setup the
Microsoft Surface was going to have:
Intel Core Quad Xeon quot;WoodCrestquot; @ 2.66GHz
4GB DDR2-1066 RAM
1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive
It has a custom motherboard form factor about the size of two ATX motherboards.
 Applications Development
Microsoft Surface applications can be written in Windows Presentation Foundation or
XNA. The development process is muchlike normal Vista development, but custom WPF
controls had to be created by the Surface team due to the unique interface of Surface.
Developers already proficient in WPF can utilize the SDK to write Surface apps for
deployments for the large hotels, casinos, and restaurants at which the machines will be
next deployed. 
 See also
Lemur Input Device
1. ^ a b AT&T First to Introduce Microsoft Surface in Retail Stores to Enhance Mobile
Shopping Experience: First commercial Microsoft Surface launch to begin April 17 in
select AT&T stores with expanded deployment planned throughout 2008
2. ^ quot;Bumps on the road to Microsoft's Surfacequot;. C-Net. Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
3. ^ Berry Levine (2007-05-30). quot;Microsoft Brings Computing to Tabletopsquot;. Retrieved on
4. ^ Daisuke Wakabayashi (2007-05-31). quot;Microsoft's new PC surfacesquot;. Retrieved on
5. ^ Multi-Touch Systems that I Have Known and Loved
6. ^ quot;Microsoft Surface Fact Historyquot;. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2007-05-30.
7. ^ Correction: “The Island” did NOT feature a Surface - istartedsomething
8. ^ Microsoft (2007-05-29). quot;Look What's Surfacing at Microsoftquot;. Press release.
Retrieved on 2007-05-30.
9. ^ Microsoft (2007-05-29). quot;Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface
Computing Comes to Life in Restaurants, Hotels, Retail Locations and Casino Resortsquot;.
Press release. Retrieved on 2007-05-30.
10. ^ Microsoft Surface Now in AT&T Stores
11. ^ Harrah’s Entertainment Launches Microsoft Surface at Rio iBar, Providing Guests
With Innovative and Immersive New Entertainment Experiences
12. ^ Disney's Innoventions Dream Home is a Big Ad For Microsoft and HP...But I Still
13. ^ quot;Microsoft Surface brings computing to the tablequot;. Retrieved on 2007-05-30.
14. ^ a b c quot;Microsoft Surface Fact Sheetquot;. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2007-05-30.
15. ^ quot;Development Frameworksquot;. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-05-15.
16. ^ What lurks below Microsoft's Surface? A brief Q&A with Microsoft
 External links
Microsoft Surface Virtual Pressroom
Microsoft Surface Team Blog
IdentityMine: Microsoft Surface Snowboard and Winebar Promo (with Video) at
Microsoft Surface: Behind-the-Scenes First Look (with Video) at
Office of Tomorrow
FLUX (Fully Liberating User eXperience)
Intoi - Digital Whiteboard Solution
Long interview and demo at on10.net
Surface Blog by Vectorform - Microsoft Surface Development Partner
Microsoft Surface - a short video demo
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Categories: Microsoft hardware | Multi-touch
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