Posted by: brandextenders | April 2, 2009

This is SO cool!

You walk into a restaurant with your wife and the hostess seats you at a quiet table. It’s been a tough day and you need a drink so you look at the offerings pictured on the table in front of you, touch a picture of the beer you want with your finger and slide it over to a red button that says order. When it’s time to eat you touch a picture on the table that says menu and the entire menu, along with pictures of each item, appears across the glass table. As you make choices you simply slide the picture over to the order button and it is automatically entered into the system and within 15 minutes your waitress brings your meals. When you’re ready to pay, you simply lay your credit card on the surface, calculate the tip with the tip calculator that appears and touch the word pay.

Pretty cool, huh? Before long you’ll see these table computers using technology called surface computing in hotels, restaurants, casinos and retail outlets like phone stores. No mice or keyboards are needed, just your fingers and hands or physical objects like a paintbrush or cellphone. From ordering your meals to choosing a play list, viewing a virtual concierge, looking at features on a cellphone or viewing pictures stored on your camera. The computer will recognize identification tags, small labels attached to physical items that contain information about that item. For example, you might have a glass of wine and when you set it down on the table, up pops information about that wine, the winery it came from, where you can buy it locally and what menu items at that restaurant it goes well with.

This is Star Trek stuff. Think about how clunky the first personal computers were, which only came into existence in the early 1980’s. From science fiction stories spring much of what comes to pass including cell phones, computers, flight to the moon and sliding doors that open automatically with the sound of a swoosh. Surface computing is definitely science fiction that has morphed into reality. Some of the first venues you’ll see these computers are at T-Mobile stores, Starwood Hotels and resorts and Harrah’s Entertainment. In just a few years you’ll start seeing people with the computers in their homes and before you know it, surface computing will be outmoded and outdated like rotary phones, black and white television and beepers. There’s always new technology just over the horizon, but this has got to be one of the coolest things to come along since the Internet. Look for it soon in places you visit.

http://www.king5.com/business/stories/NW_053007BUBmicrosoft_surfacecomputerJM.250093cc.html

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/may07/05-29mssurfacepr.mspx

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