Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Surface – Tabletop Computer. You won’t believe this until you see it. It’s actually real. No mouse, no keyboards, but you can touch it and guess what . . . it actually feels you. Don’t you know what is it? It’s Microsoft Surface!!!

What it is:
A computer in the form of a table, using the hard acrylic tabletop as a high-resolution screen. First product from Microsoft’s previously secret Surface Computing team, which has 120 employees.

How it works: The surface itself isn’t touch-sensitive, but a series of cameras inside the table can see when someone places or drags a finger, hand or any other object on or across the tabletop screen. Internal projector lights screen from beneath.

Interface: People can use their hands to touch and move virtual objects on the screen, just as they would with a mouse on a traditional PC. The system also can recognize objects placed on the surface, based on their shape or on special codes affixed to them.

Size: 22 inches high, 21 inches deep, 42 inches wide, with 30-inch screen.

Technology: Uses a custom software interface on top of Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Comes with wired Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless, hard drive and 1 GHz processor.

Initial customers: Harrah’s Entertainment, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, T-Mobile and IGT, the gaming technology company. Microsoft says consumer availability is still a few years away.

Competition: Microsoft isn’t alone in exploring this area. See a similar technology demonstrated by NYU researcher Jeff Han online at

See Microsoft Surface in action

Restaurant menu

Microsoft envisions the Surface technology being used in restaurant settings.

Photo manipulation

Mark Bolger, director of marketing in Microsoft’s Surface Computing group, shows a photo application that pulls digital images from a remote server and then lets users move them around the tabletop — and resize them — with their hands.


Bolger demonstrates a virtual painting application.

T-Mobile Demo

One of the customers that will be using Microsoft Surface is wireless service provider T-Mobile. In this demo, Microsoft’s Mark Bolger shows one of the ways that the technology could be used in a T-Mobile retail store.

Videos by Curt Milton

Learn more about Microsoft Surface