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Microsoft Surface first started back in 2001 under the code name “Milan”. It was a project that was started by a very small group of Microsoft employees. The design was changed 10’s of times, but was finally presented to Bill in 2003. Of course, Mr. Gates liked it, and the project took on new life as it grew. By 2005 the final design had been chosen, and in 2007 it was presented to the public. The public was in awe, and Microsoft was proud.
So what makes Microsoft Surface so unique? It is unique because it goes where no computer has gone before. It uses a Natural User Interface (NUI). An NUI is an interface that attempts to take out any space between the digital and real world. It makes digital information and data seem real, by using Multi-touch interaction. Mult-touch interaction is simply a touch screen that supports multiple input points (touches) at the same time. In fact, Microsoft Surface supports up to 52.
Multi-touch is the biggest part of a Natural User Interface. It makes tasks such as viewing pictures… natural. There is practically no learning curve. To move a picutre, you simply put your finger down and drag it to the desired location, and to resize a picture simply pinch the picture with two fingers.
Another part that makes Surface’s interface natural is the object recognition feature. Object recognition has three parts to it.
The first part is the ability to recognize more than just fingers, which means it can recognize objects. This is different from normal touch screens because normally touch screens require an electric current or heat, which come from fingers. However, unlike those touch screens, Surface does not care whether it is a finger or a Zune.
Second, the use of byte tags allow for unique object recognition. By simply creating a relation between a specific byte tag pattern and an object, such as a camera, the Touch Table can recognize that that object is a camera.
Thirdly, Surface can transfer data via Bluetooth between certain digital objects. When you set the camera down, Surface recognizes it as a camera through the byte tag, and then opens ports for data transfer. Then, to transfer photos on to the camera, you simply drag them to it. And when you set the camera down at first, the photos dump out onto the Surface table top.
All these factors make Microsoft Surface’s Natural User Interface truly amazing and state of the art.
The author of this article is the WebMaster of a Microsoft Surface Website and Blog at http://www.surfacehq.com
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