So any of you who have seen the movie “The Island” probably remember the amazing office desk of the administrator of the facility that the main charachters (the lovely Scarlett Johansen and Obi Kenobi — Ewan McGregor) resided. Well didn’t you wish you could have that table the first moment you saw the guy interact with it?
Well the technology has taken it’s merry time to mature due to issues with the idea of being able to touch multiple points on the screen at the same time. Thats why you see Microsoft Tablet PCs and PDAs with a stylus. And by the way Tablet PC’s are bad ass my wife bought me one for my birthday, so you know I’m happy! Apple is also releasing it’s iPhone in the near future featuring Multi-touch display technology.
In the last five years the software behind the multi-touch interaction technology has also matured to almost mimic what Tom Cruise was doing in Minority Report. A team has been developing camera based multi-touch table technology but it truly doesn’t match what was in The Island as you can see from this first youtube video is of the Blue Eye camera based multi-touch table technology.
The next technology closest to The Island table is the brainchild of Jeff Han, a researcher from NYU, who has designed one of the most compelling and visually stunning multi-touch technology because he’s built demo’s that truly show the benefits of multi-touch from a user interface perspective since it allows one to become immersed in the environment. Jeff Han and his colleagues have spun this off into Perceptive Pixel. Check out this presentation from Jeff et al.Now enter Microsoft. Microsoft has been keeping a lid on it’s true multi-touch table technology that doens’t require an overhead camera to work. Microsoft has even combined RFID and PWC (bar codes) into it’s product to allow new creative ways of interacting with real objects that was not possible before. A recent BBC News article announced Microsoft’s official launch of it’s product, called Surface, to be intially sold to restaurants, hotels, stores, and casinos starting around $10K. But Microsoft has a vision for Surface to be applicable to almost every industry, including education and the home. Find out more information about Microsoft’s Surface technology at the Surface Product page.Tablet technology has improved my life in more ways than one, I wonder what flexible displays with multi-touch ability will do for all of us!