Innovation: Surface

Touch the surface
Originally uploaded by jodieandlarry.

This Thursday (October 25, 2007) is the 2nd Annual Chicagoland Innovation Summit, presented by Innovate NowMicrosoft is a sponsor and will have a large presence at the event.  I will be on hand with several of my colleagues and we will be demonstrating some very forward looking technology.  In addition to our team, there are several other teams that will be demonstrating technology.   This is the third article about some of the innovations that will be showcased, the first article was on Photosynth and is located here and the second article was on Seadragon and is located here.

What is Surface?

Surface is a fundamental paradigm shift in the way that we can interact with computing platforms (and from saving you to have to leave the comment – yes they made a computer out of a big a$$ table).  The software that powers this will be very familiar to Microsoft developers because the User Interface is written in .NET and WPF.  There is a lot of cool technology under the covers that allows the user’s gestures to control the device.  If you want to know more about Surface, I would point you toward the write up that my colleague John Mullinax wrote up a few months ago (even though it was written in June, it still holds true today).

I actually got to see the surface in action today.  The feel of the device was quite different than I imagined, I quite frankly expected it to feel like the old table top arcade games from the 1980s.  It has a very cool feel to the top and it does not take long to get used to playing around with the device.  It will still be some time before you see the first devices appear with the customers they have announced as launch partners.  Hopefully the globe trotting surface team that I met today will have some more events where people can experience the surface first hand before the launch.

Innovation begets innovation

The coolest part about surface?  It has an SDK.  Microsoft and their customers have cooked up some pretty cool demos that show you the things they have thought of to do with the surface device.  But what will even be cooler is when the developer community gets a hold of the SDK and starts to create even more interesting applications for the platform.

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