Microsoft Surface is a surface computing platform – based on WPF and XNA, that responds to natural hand gestures and real world objects. It has a 360-degree user interface, a 30-inch reflective surface with a XGA DLP projector underneath the surface which projects an image onto its underside, while five cameras in the machine’s housing record reflections of infrared light from objects and human fingertips on the surface. The surface is capable of object recognition, object/finger orientation recognition and tracking, and is multi-touch and is multi-user. 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 placed objects. This paradigm of interaction with computers is known as a natural user interface (NUI).
Building blocks, called Luminos, can be stacked on the Surface computer and the system recognizes the configuration, which could be useful, for instance, in architectural renderings or other 3D modeling. “Traditionally people have been able to build flat objects on a table-top surface,” said Patrick Baudisch, a professor at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany and chair of its Human Computer Interaction group. “What you can’t do, however, is stack objects.”
For Users: Microsoft Surface represents a fundamental change in the way we interact with digital content. Leave the mouse and keyboard behind. Surface lets you grab digital content with your hands and move information with simple gestures and touches. Surface also sees and interacts with objects placed on the screen, allowing you to move information between devices like mobile phones or cameras. The result is a fun, social and exciting computing experience like you’ve never had before.
For Businesses: Microsoft Surface provides tremendous potential for businesses to improve communication, and be more efficient in how they deliver information and services to their customers. The intuitive and approachable interface is easy to learn and the familiar software platform makes it easy to manage, too. The multi-touch and multi-user capabilities create an incredibly collaborative experience, where sharing and exploring information is easier than ever.
If you want to start developing Surface applications, the following resources can help you set up your development environment and develop your first, basic Surface application