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Surface Experiences in 2009

Written by on April 11, 2009

@wa7son recently asked me to do an article about Microsoft Surface. Where it is going, what are people doing with it + a look into some of future ideas that may be coming.

Surface in your Kitchen

First we can start with the Surface Kitchen Table. Wouldn't it be great if you could combine the kitchen stove and the kitchen table into one multi-touch, multi-interaction kitchen surface? Well, take a look at this.

Home Shopping

There is a huge amount of potential in Surface when it comes to "Home Shopping", specifically if you want to create an experience where it is part of your natural flow (sitting in your couch, and not having to get up to go over to your computer). One example is the t-shirt designer.


Next up is one of the many examples of surface used in restaurants, where people can explore the menus in a very visual way, and order their food directly.

One restaurant in London is already using this concept (although not with Microsoft technology as far as I know), where you can order food, or play games while you eat. Adding a little social interaction to help make the date go just a little easier.

This specific area of surface computing is more like a gimmick than really useful. But, I think that there is a future in rich-media menu cards, but that could just as easily be done using next generation epaper.


Speaking of games, the surface table - in a few years - just might replace the board games that most people remember (although now very rarely use). Here are a few concepts from Microsoft.

But the real future of board games, are highly interactive, and visual impressive games. It is easy to simply render a gaming board on a surface table, but what if you could turn a normal Stratego game into a highly interactive 'battle for D-day' game - like this one:

Note: the above is just a concept used to promote the upcoming game Ruse.

This is the kind of future that surface gaming is all about. Not creating digital versions of physical games, but expand that world into an immense and challenging experience.

Understanding Natural User Interface

And finally we take a step back, and try to understand what Natural User Interface is all about. One of the fastest ways to do that is to see Joseph Fletcher's excellent talk: the "Untold Stories of Touch".

Tip: Put it into fullscreen

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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