A "multi-touch, gestural- and object-recognition interface technology" almost only seen in Sci-Fi movies (Minority Report) is coming Fall 2007. I predict this will turn into useful art and design tool in addition to Wacom tablets most digital artists use today. For now it only supports basic painting program and mostly designed to enrich our social life experiences:
Name of Product: Microsoft Surface™Microsoft's Mystery Product: [gizmodo.com]
Category: Surface computing
•Music - You put your music player on the table, and your credit card. Both are recognized, then you drag songs to the player. Zune is obvious first device, but potential other partner in the works. One demo used a nano. Could partner really be Apple?
•Virtual Concierge - A fairly self explanatory guide program, complete with mapping programs
•Food & Drink - Not just interactive menus, but glass (and presumably plate and maybe even silverware) recognition. Like Music program, it reads credit cards just by placing them on table.
•Photo - A simple photo editor reminiscent of iPhoto
•Puzzle - A game where you assemble actual pieces of glass on top of the table, each with a sliver of live video playing
•Water - A water screensaver that you can touch to make ripples
•Paint - Simple painting program that reads pressure sensitivity by judging the size of your fingerprint:
Fact sheet from MS marketing team: [gamerscoreblog.com]
Microsoft impressive flash demo: [microsoft.com/surface]