Microsoft Surface Computer

by pro_naveen on 2008-11-14
We encounter tables in a variety of situations in our everyday lives – at work, at school, at home, and in restaurants, libraries, and other public venues. Enhancing traditional tables by adding computational functionality combines the collaborative and organizational benefits of horizontal surfaces, as well as their ability to hold tangible interaction objects, with the power and adaptability of digital technology, including the ability to archive, search, and share digital documents and the ability to quickly access related information. Combining the productivity benefits of computing with the social benefits of around-the-table interaction has value for many commonplace activities, such as business, education, and entertainment. The recent introduction of hardware that detects touch input from multiple, simultaneous users have made computationally-augmented tables, or “interactive tables,” practical.

This dissertation contributes a sequence of novel prototypes that explore the properties of group interaction with interactive tables. It presents the results of user experiments on the ways people share information and control in the unique setting of interactive face-to-face shared computer use. On the basis of these it proposes design principles that will produce tabletop groupware that better facilitates human-computer interaction and cooperative processes. These principles relate to appropriate uses for different regions of the table’s surface, techniques for reducing visual clutter, the utility and visibility of access permissions for virtual objects, methods for influencing
Users’ social interactions via tabletop interface design, consideration of how tabletop interface design influences and facilitates different work styles, and appropriate usability metrics for evaluating this class of software. Considering tabletop design holistically, including both the human-computer and human-human interactions that take place during tabletop activities, can lead to the development of more usable and useful tabletop groupware.

Microsoft has been looking beyond the desktop for sometime now, but with the launch of "Milan," the company is showing the potential for so-called "surface computing" to revolutionize everything from retail kiosks to the common coffee table. At its core, Milan is a PC running Windows Vista, but don't expect to use it with a keyboard and mouse. Instead, Milan uses a touch-sensitive display that enables multiple users to navigate the system's interface.
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