What is Microsoft Surface?

What is Microsoft Surface?

Surface computing at its most basic is an attempt to make the use of a computer better match the way we interact with other things in our environments as well as better interacting with those things and allowing for far less time thinking about how we interact with our computers so more energy can be put into how we use them.

Using specialized hardware designed to replace the keyboard and mouse used in typical computing applications, Surface enables a level of interaction previously unattainable with conventional hardware.

The system is composed of a horizontal touchscreen under a coffee table-like surface, with cameras mounted below to detect user interaction activities.

All interface components such as dialogs, mouse pointer, and windows, are replaced with circles and rectangles outlining "objects" that are manipulated via drag and drop.

The "objects" in question can be either virtual objects displayed on the screen, or physical objects such as cellphones, digital cameras, and PDAs placed on the screen.

Physical objects are automatically identified and connected to the Surface computer upon their placement on the screen. With no interface text, the Surface computer can be used by speakers of any language and any competency level.

Surface's main feature is the apparent simplicity with which common computing tasks can be performed. Most operations are performed without dialogs or wizards.

Surface uses the latest Microsoft OS, Vista, the hardware involved is somewhat close to the minimum required by that OS. An Intel dual core processor backed by 2 GB of RAM form the base system, and a modest 256MB video card provides the graphic-processing power.