AT&T stores host Surface demo

AT&T stores host Surface demo

If you'd like a chance to play with Microsoft's surface tech, it's being demonstrated in selected AT&T stores in the US today.

According to a report by Zach Epstein over at Boy Genius Report, Microsoft is due to give the public a rare opportunity to paw its Surface multi-touch table interface at five AT&T stores across the US today. Sadly, there's still no love for any of us stuck across the pond.

The Surface concept was clearly created by Microsoft engineers in a booze-fuelled frenzy after watching Minority Report one too many times. The idea is that you have a multi-touch enabled display mounted within the surface (get it?) of a desk, which allows you to drag objects around your desktop in a rather snazzy manner.

It's a neat idea, although it's hardly the only way to do such a thing – as proven by inveterate hacker Johnny Lee Chung with his Wiimote-assisted finger tracking demo.

It's still a pretty neat bit of tech, and makes me think of a table-sized iPhone interface – and with the overwhelming fanboyism that has created, it can't be a bad thing.

If you're interested in queuing up to have a poke at Microsoft's latest concept PC, the addresses for the AT&T stores running the demos are available at the Boy Genius Report page.

You'll have to hurry, mind – as far as I can tell, it's very much a one-day-only thing.

Any US members fancy a trip to play with a shiny new toy, or have you been disappointed by Microsoft's 'innovations' too many times before? Share your thoughts over in the forums – and if you do attend, be sure to snap some pictures to share with us!


Discuss in the forums Reply
completemadness 18th April 2008, 17:15 Quote
whats the betting it crashes during a demo :D
kenco_uk 18th April 2008, 17:15 Quote
Is this the tech where you can access devices on it? Say, for example a phone or camera is laid down and it connects to the surface, offering an interface to access the files within?
Darkedge 18th April 2008, 17:21 Quote
Kenco - yes thats part of the idea. Which like most multi touch technology was years before the Jesusphone yet MAC zealots still claim Apple invented it. All they did was give us a nicely polished first version of it.
badders 18th April 2008, 18:33 Quote
In the AT&T stores though, you'll be able to put phones on the top, and the features will come up, allowing you to compare them.

Sounds nifty!
The Jambo 18th April 2008, 20:23 Quote
So go down there and you'll find twenty people gathered round the table throwing stuff on it, seeing what it does.

But say if i put my phone down on this table. Will it instantly provide access to all my files?

If i were to accidentally put my mp3 player on the table, will it play automatically?
Cupboard 18th April 2008, 20:55 Quote
Originally Posted by The Jambo
But say if i put my phone down on this table. Will it instantly provide access to all my files?

If i were to accidentally put my mp3 player on the table, will it play automatically?

Not unless the feature is turned on on both the desk and your phone/mp3 player. I think it uses bluetooth, so your device would have to have that on. I think it also uses rfid for some other features
Sea Shadow 18th April 2008, 23:24 Quote
The tables recognize items put on their surface via special tags attached to the device in question (sometimes referred to as fudicials within the multi-touch community). When you put the tag down, the same cameras that pick up regular interaction see the tag and correlate that into an action. The cameras are configured so that they only pick up IR light. IIRC surface uses 4 or 5 cameras though you can achieve similar results with just one.

There are actually a couple of open source groups buildling their own software and tables with NUI being one of the more notable ones. It is actually pretty easy to build your own table. It took me about 2 weeks to build mine (could have done it in 3 or 4 days or so had I sat down and done it in one go).
Here are some pics of what went into building mine.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
And here is a link to a video I made shortly after assembling my table (sorry I made it at 5 in the morning so the quality is lacking, I'd suggest you skip to about 1min since I made the first part far too long).
Spaceraver 21st April 2008, 11:23 Quote
Sea Shadow.. You have to do a log of that one.. This would be way cooler to have than just an having ordinary glass table. Please?
Sea Shadow 22nd April 2008, 00:55 Quote
I would, but I am about to leave on a LDS (Mormon) mission. I will be gone for two years and I leave in 2 days, I have tons of packing to do and will be very busy up untill when I leave, so I doubt I will find time to make a log of this build. However, I am contemplating building a lower profile wall mount system when I get back, but it all depends on my priorities when I return. Right now the first thing I want to build when I get back, is a 3D printer.
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