Thursday, 9 February 2012


                We always wonder, when will we be able to do things which actors do in sci-fi movies? Are you still wondering what am I talking about? I am talking about technology which has made our films actually look sci-fi i.e. surface computing.

                Where you see actors accessing there machines merely with their hands. This technology is a new way of working with computers that moves beyond the traditional mouse-and-keyboard experience. It is a natural user interface that allows people to interact with digital content the same way they have interacted with everyday items such as photos, paintbrushes and music their entire life: with their hands, with gestures and by putting real-world objects on the surface.
             This technology like others will take lot of time to come to use in mainstream in India like other technologies which has taken forever to come in use in mainstream like you can say cctv camera which are used more often in western countries to check crime effectively in that region, but it is not at all used in India till recently. So you can expect this technology to come in mainstream use in India within some years.
           Surface computing is a completely intuitive and liberating way to interact with digital content. It blurs the lines between the physical and virtual worlds. By using your hands or placing other unique everyday objects on the surface – such as an item you’re going to purchase at a retail store or a paint brush – you can interact with, share and collaborate like you’ve never done before. Imagine you’re out at a restaurant with friends and you each place your beverage on the table – and all kinds of information appears by your glass, such as wine pairings with a restaurant’s menu. Then, with the flick of your finger, you order dessert and split the bill. We really see this as broadening content opportunities and delivery systems.


Surface computing features four key attributes:

Direct interaction
Users can actually “grab” digital information with their hands and interact with content through touch and gesture, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.

Multitouch contact
Surface computing recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger as with a typical touch screen, but up to dozens and dozens of items at once.

Multi user experience.
The horizontal form factor makes it easy for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face to face computing experience.

Object recognition.
Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content. 

Technology used in surface computing
             Microsoft Surface uses cameras to sense objects, hand gestures and touch. This user input is then processed and displayed using rear projection. Specifically, Microsoft Surface uses a rear projection system which displays an image onto the underside of a thin diffuser. Objects such as fingers are visible through the diffuser by series of infrared– sensitive cameras, positioned underneath the display. An image processing system processes the camera images to detect fingers, custom tags and other objects such as paintbrushes when touching the display. The objects recognized with this system are reported to applications running in the computer so that they can react to object shapes, 2D tags, movement and touch. 

               Technology has been used currently by Microsoft after it has made Microsoft surface. Microsoft Surface (“Surface”) is a commercial computing platform that enables people to use touch and real world objects to share digital content at the same time. The Surface platform consists of software and hardware products that combine vision based multi touch PC hardware, 360-degree multi user application design, and Windows software to create a natural user interface(NUI) for users. 

What are the uses of this technology? 
still from movie Minority report

              Playing with the unit felt a bit like being in the movie Minority Report (in a good way ), but it also felt like a more natural and enjoyable method of doing certain computing tasks. Sharing and looking at family photos, for example, is more fun on Surface than on any other device. The retail applications, particularly the dining application, show how businesses could use the technology to really stand out from competitors, though one wonders how diners will react when their table locks up and needs a reboot.
Object recognition:Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content.