Many of you likely remember the videos of the amazing Microsoft Surface a few years ago, a touchscreen tabletop which has more recently been referred to as a ‘giant iPad’. The Surface is much more than that, however, as Microsoft has shown at CES 2011 with their Microsoft Surface 2.0.
The newest promotional video shows the Surface technology being used with a 40-inch Samsung LCD touchscreen. It’s amazing enough to have such a large, interactive screen to work with, being easily able to collaborate with others. The most astounding feature, however, is the infrared technology allowing the surface to ‘identify’ real world objects that are placed on top of it.
It’s easy to think of ways this table could be used, but difficult to find truly practical uses. The promotional video released shows the screen being used in a hospital to examine and mark images such as X-Rays. We also see it being used in its table-like form as a way for businesses to interact with customers and showcase items, or for professionals like doctors to consult with patients. The video’s example for the latter shows a pregnant woman and her husband viewing the ultrasound images on the Surface, with the husband able to download one of the images to his phone instantly.
It’s exciting and new and gadgety, but those things could all be done easily by other, if less glitzy, means. One bright side, however, is that the price is rumored to drop another five grand, bringing it down into the high four-digits rather than hovering around $10-$15k. I’m sure that as the price continues to drop, more people will be getting their hands on the technology and finding innovative ways to put it to use. And, of course, as it gets cheaper, it will become something the average consumer could actually by rather than the tech being focused primarily toward commercial use. I can think of many people who would enjoy something like this as a gaming table, whether it be for large board games like Arkham Horror or tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons.