Samsung SUR40 with Surface 2.0/PixelSense (via Microsoft & Samsung)
Technological advancement is consistently giving ambitious engineers new career opportunities every day. Microsoft Surface 2.0 is the perfect example. Doing away with projectors and cameras, Surface 2.0 ushers in a novel touch interface. "PixelSense," that is sure to gain in popularity outside the table top.
PixelSense places an array of IR LEDs into the backlighting array used to detect what in immediately over a particular area. The reflected IR light is detected by the table, and the on board software then handles what to do in certain situation. For example, a paint brush will handle different than a fingertip. In the below video, the entire hand is detected at a distance from the surface, not just a single point.
How PixelSense works (via Microsoft)
Using non-conductive objects for input purposes give this type of human-machine interface (HMI) an immediate advantage over capacitive screens. Just think, using a multi-input touch screen with gloves on. In the video notice how whatever is hovering at a short distance over the Surface 2.0 table is imaged. Although software just recognized a fingertip, not the whole hand, applications for near the screen tracking are endless. The table can do 3D tracking, to some extent, which is another advantage over capacitive.
When the tech is thinner, I am sure we will it in one form or another, in all our portable gadgets. In the meantime, Samsung is putting Surface 2.0 on their new SUR40 table. Up to 50 simultaneous inputs can be detected on the $8,000 USD tabletop. Inside, a rather paltry AMD Athlon II X2 2.9GHz CPU and HD6750M GPU drives the 40" SUR40 with standard 1080p graphics. I find it odd that the latest in a multitouch table is using hardware equivalent to low end laptops, but it is a testament to efficiency of Surface 2.0 with PixelSense.
Now, Microsoft is encouraging developers to create apps and accessories for surface 2.0. The market is rather lonely, in comparison to Android or iOS, so opportunities abound for those interested.
Another more affordable multitouch table will be available soon,