A surface computer is a computer that interacts with the user through the surface of an ordinary object, rather than through a monitor and keyboard.
The concept has seen some media attention, but there are few commercial surface products. The name of the category was first adopted by Microsoft with Surface (codenamed Milan), the surface computer from Microsoft which was based entirely on a Multi-Touch interface and using a coffee-table like design, and was unveiled on 30 May 2007. Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by setting real-world items tagged with special bar-code labels on top of it. The Surface is a horizontal display on a table-like form. Somewhat similar to the iPhone, the Surface has a screen that can incorporate multiple touches and thus uses them to navigate multimedia content. Unlike the iPhone, which uses fingers' electrical properties to detect touch, the Surface utilizes a system of infrared cameras to detect input. Uploading digital files only requires each object (e.g. a Bluetooth-enabled digital camera) to be placed on the Surface. People can physically move around the picture across the screen with their hands, or even shrink or enlarge them. The first units of the Surface will be information kiosks in the Harrah's family of casinos. Also receiving units will be T-Mobile, for comparing several cell phones side-by-side, and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, which will use Surface to service lobby customers in numerous ways.The product was renamed "Microsoft PixelSense" on June 18, 2012, due to a decision of Microsoft to give the name "Surface" to a new product, a tablet PC.
The Microsoft Surface has a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, an off the shelf graphics card, a scratch-proof spill-proof surface, a DLP projector, and 5 infrared cameras as mentioned above. However, the expensive components required for the interface also give the Surface a price tag of between $12,500 to $15,000.
- Grossman, Lev (14 June 2007). "Feeling out the Newest Touch Screens". TIME. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface Computing Comes to Life in Restaurants, Hotels, Retail Locations and Casino Resorts". Microsoft. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- Jeff Han