Multi-touch in the home

May 30, 2007

Jenga Maybe some of you heard about this earlier, but it was new to me: today Microsoft unveiled “Microsoft Surface“, a multi-touch tabletop display. There’s a video on Popular Mechanics of showing what the device can actually do, as opposed to the Microsoft videos, which talk about the “dawn of a new era”, and feature actors with that look of amazement-shock-and-pure-joy that can be found on the back of a Jenga box.

The current price is around $5-10k, so it’s not quite a consumer-level device yet. On the other hand, the IBM PC was the equivalent of $5000 in its time, so it might not be long before we are all amazed, shocked, and infused with pure joy on a daily basis.

One of the interesting things about ubiquitous computing is the major disconnect between the ubicomp devices (cell phones, interactive displays, etc.) and traditional desktop computers. Like, the demo where you drop the camera onto the display and the pictures come shooting out is great and all, but what happens when you want to look at photos that are stored on your desktop computer? Imagine how fun it will be to try to connect to your Windows 98 machine with your Microsoft Surface, fat-fingering through Windows Explorer. Better get out the dialing wand.