I’ve been really enjoying the site Neat-O-Rama – lots of very fun articles, clips, pictures.
Microsoft releases their super-cool Surface technology. A large touch-screen surface you interact with. While people have been doing several things like this for years – this is the first commercially available product (vs. super-expensive one-time custom builds). One was in a bar table and the whole bar used laser-lights that would interact with whatever was set on it.
Another cool invention was a non-touch digital butler you hang on the wall. When integrated with your home via sensors, it updates you with all kinds of events that are happening around your house.
Full kudos to Microsoft on putting all these together in a great looking package. Head over to their site and see the demos. The interface interaction is very much like the one you see in the movie Minority Report. But in my mind, enhancing device interaction is even better – everything from putting digital cameras on the surface and having the pictures appear/download onto the surface from it, to cel phones, to video, to zunes swapping music by simply surfing through the piles of songs/images that come off and dragging them over to the other devices on the table, etc.
Only 2 downsides: it will cost $5000-$10,000, and people are already fretting over possible patent lawsuits on multi-touch displays by various individuals/companies (Jeff Han http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65) – not the least of which was Apple where Steve Jobs mentioned their touch-tech was patented 3 times in a row during his talk when he announced their iPhones.
Still, this has been something just waiting to come and has finally arrived. I just hope our antiquated IP laws don’t kill great things like this before they even take off.