Within the next year or so in Ireland we should be seeing interactive embedded tabletop computing in places like restaurant and bars, where customers will select from a menu display set into their table or automatically have refills ordered as the sensor detects their drink has emptied.
This is because Microsoft has now made its Surface computing technology commercially available in 12 countries across the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market, including Ireland, the UK, Austria, Belgium, France and Germany, as well as Italy, the Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.
Although Microsoft has been demonstrating this new technology since 2007, it has only been available up until now in the US and Canada.
The difference between Microsoft’s tabletop touch technology and the average touchscreen interactivity found in mobile handsets and touch PC’s such as HP’s TouchSmart is that this technology is primarily geared towards the service industry. This is because it can accept both multiple gestures and real-world objects as input.
With Surface, more than one person can input data at once and the surface can detect object type: one of the examples for home use given by Microsoft on the official page shows how it can detect different kinds of objects including your digital camera or MP3 player,§ and interact to extract, add or share information such as photos between these devices and the tabletop itself.
“Since our initial launch of Microsoft Surface, we’ve received an overwhelming response from companies worldwide that are looking for innovative ways to engage with their customers and developers who want to create applications not possible with other technologies,” said Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface.
“We’re excited to be entering into these new markets with partners that have already begun exploring many possibilities of Microsoft Surface locally.”
By Marie Boran