The multi-touch technology that Apple pioneered with its iPhone is now everywhere in the modern world – but Microsoft is about to pump up the technology to a new level.
The next generation of its ‘Surface’ table is a 40-inch touchscreen that can feel 50 ‘touches’ at once – and can also ‘feel’ pens, pointers or anything else placed on the table. Screens on gizmos such as iPhone can only feel fingers.
The Full HD screen has a high-powered Windows PC built in – and is just four inches thick.
The Surface touchscreen is just four inches thick – it can be used in ‘table’ format, or even hung on the wall like a painting
Microsoft’s Surface display is a 40-inch multi-touch screen which overcomes the limitations of most touchscreen technology – the fact that the screens arebamboozled if too many people touch at once
The screen works by shining light upwards through the screen, which bounces back to a layer of sensors behind the screen.
It can detect not only fingers but objects on the table – whereas other touchscreen technologies are limited in what they can detect.
For instance, touching an iPhone screen with a pen will have no effect.
With that in mind, the tablet ships with apps allowing children to paint or draw directly on screen – or even edit photos and upload them to Facebook.
Microsoft’s previous Surface table was a bit of a cheat – the surface was semi-transparent, and touch was detected by cameras underneath the table.
The result was that displays using Surface looked a little washed-out – and the table wasn’t as responsive as multi-touch touchscreens.
At CES 2011, Microsoft unveiled the next generation of the Microsoft Surface experience featuring PixelSense™ technology, which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.
The table will also include apps that allow people to ‘paint’ directly onto the table, or edit photos then add them directly to their Facebook accounts
The screen can hang on a wall, be built into a wall, or comes with standard leg supports.If that doesn’t fit with your home, you can choose your own legs.
The gizmo was named a 2011 ‘Best of What’s New’ award winner by Popular Science magazine.
The Surface SUR40 is available for pre-order now for £7499.