Microsoft Surface Overview

Surface 1.0 SP1

Microsoft Surface is the first commercially available surface computing platform from Microsoft Corporation. It turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, interactive surface. The product provides effortless interaction with digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. In essence, it’s a surface that comes to life for exploring, learning, sharing, creating, buying and much more. In restaurants, hotels, retail and public entertainment venues, this experience will transform the way people shop, dine, entertain and live.

Microsoft Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that’s easy for individuals or small groups to interact with in a way that feels familiar, just like in the real world. Microsoft Surface can simultaneously recognize dozens and dozens of movements such as touch and gestures and can recognize unique objects that have identification tags (similar to bar codes).

Microsoft also provides a portfolio of basic Microsoft Surface applications, including Concierge, Photos, and Music. You can customize these applications to provide customers with unique experiences.

Surface computing breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology, changing the way people interact with all kinds of everyday content, from photos to maps to menus. The intuitive user interface works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information by using their hands and natural movements. Users are able to access information either on their own or collaboratively with their friends and families, unlike any experience available today. 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 of items at once.

  • Multiuser 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.

All it takes is a simple touch.

Photos - Single touch example

What's more, Microsoft Surface responds to multiple touches at one time (multitouch).

Photos - Multitouch example

All of this functionality enables a new range of social, multiuser applications.

Music - Multitouch example

With Microsoft Surface, you can develop applications that:

  • Respond to touch and gestures.

  • Respond to multiple touches so that several people can work and play at the same time.

  • Respond to object blobs. For example, users can use a paintbrush in a drawing application.

  • Recognize objects and initiate an action based on tags (tagged objects). For example, users can use a domino-like tag (with small white circles on a black background) on an object start an action, draw a shape, and so on.

  • Have 360-degree user interfaces. For example, four people can sit around the Microsoft Surface unit and have the content appear correctly for everybody.

To learn more about the Microsoft Surface system and what users encounter when they interact with a Microsoft Surface unit, see the following sections:

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