Last week, Microsoft unveiled Surface Computing at the D (All things Digital) conference. The demos were great. The UI is one of my main areas of interest in computing. Augmenting human talents. Using your finger or hands to move things seems like a really good way to unlock our amazing spatial intelligence. While the left brain is kept in its place, all sorts of possibilities emerge.
Of course, this is all vaporware right now. Undoubtedly it is being rushed out in response to the imminent release of the iPhone (June 29th according to the new ads). But, whatever. Give me goodies like surface computing that extend the boundaries of what we think a computer can do.
I would love to have one. Here's how I would want to use one. In consulting with a client. We sit side by side or across from each other with the coffee table right there. We move stuff around, pull things out, zoom in, get creative. Microsoft says this is a new paradigm. Yeah! Make information exploration more like a sport. Use all that native intelligence that computers have not yet tapped.
OK. It's not Minority Report. I just watched the movie on TV the other night. Wonderful technology that. I love the way you could shove stuff out of the way. Actually, the shoving, pushing and *throwing* you will do as you flip through images, albums and contacts on an iPhone will be a lot like that. Just a lot more portable with a smaller screen.
Obviously travel agents could have you come in and work with them on one of these. Or career counselors working with you around your skills, interests, abilities vis-a-vis careers, industries and opportunities. Or how about boomer retirement planning? Investment counseling. Or where to live? I would love one of these things.
I doubt that I am the only software developer who has imagined or wanted something like this for a long time. Kind of like knowing that eventually we would have our music collections on hard drives.
The plan is first to introduce this for commercial purposes at somewhere between $5000 and $10000. And eventually drive the cost down enough to release it as a more affordable offering.
After that we get lots of surfaces in the house with these kinds of smart, interactive, touch screens. In the hallways. Score one for Microsoft!