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02 June 2007

Minority Report PC Becomes Reality

Say goodbye to your mouse! Five years of closed development at Microsoft has now resulted in a ground breaking technology called Surface Computing. It's not simply just another device with a touch screen - it's a bridge between the real and the virtual world. Surface Computing allows you to have a superior level of interaction with data like never before. No mouse. No keyboard. No wires. Just you, your fingers and your hand gestures.

The idea is nothing new, but it's never been more than a prototype until today. Surely some of you have seen the film Minority Report, but only last year a working concept was showcased as in this demonstration:

Now picture this - being able to paint with a real brush, play cards with your hands, and pay your bills just by putting your credit card on the surface of the display. This new technology is the brainchild of Stevie Bathiche and Andy Wilson. Microsoft's "Surface" uses a 30 inch table top like display with a touch screen for you to interact with it. Five infrared cameras mounted inside, detects the movement on top of the screen, electronic devices with a WIFI connection and other objects nearby. A digital camera is placed on the table top and the photos "magically" fall out into the computer. The photos are then dragged near the mobile phone, and they are instantly uploaded into it. The following video should give you a better understanding of how this works:

Microsoft's move is the first attempt to commercialize the dream and put the technology into mass production. Still, will it be affordable for the average tech geek? At this point in time with a price tag of $10,000 - I don't think so. Like all new technologies, this one has a long way to go before the prices drop down. Though, Intel's vision of the near future where devices work seamlessly together, might be nearer than we think. What's more, this technology could only become a reality for us all with the kind of capital investment Microsoft has and will put in this effort. Can't wait to see one of these babies in my house one day!

Let your thoughts pour in.

This post was written by Shankar Ganesh from Shankar Ganesh's Tech Blog. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here: be my guest!

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