With the new Secondlight prototype Microsoft has added another dimension to its touchscreen technology called Surface.
The two build-in projectors allow to display different images in a way that looks simultaneous to the eye. Microsoft presented the new technology during the PDC and has provided some additional technical details earlier this month.
While one image is displayed onto the large screen and can be manipulated with gestures the second projector can create an independent image on a flat or 3D surface like a piece of paper or a Plexiglas cylinder.
Microsoft provided some very interesting sample applications like a lens that when moved over a 3D display of a car shows technical details underneath, displaying additional information like text or moving images on a sheet of paper, or displaying a map on the second display linked to a satellite image.
From MS technical paper on Secondlight
“…We introduce a new type of interactive surface technology based on a switchable projection screen which can be made diffuse or clear under electronic control. The screen can be continuously toggled between these two states so quickly that the switching is imperceptible to the human eye. It is then possible to rear-project what is perceived as a stable image onto the display surface, when the screen is in fact transparent for half the time. The clear periods may be used to project a second, different image through the display onto objects held above the surface. At the same time, a camera mounted behind the screen can see out into the environment. We explore some of the possibilities this type of screen technology affords, allowing surface computing interactions to extend „beyond the display?. We present a single self-contained system that combines these off-screen interactions with more typical multi-touch and tangible surface interactions. We describe the technical challenges in realizing our system, with the aim of allowing others to experiment with these new forms of interactive surfaces…”
While similar effects (e.g. lens) could also be created in software alone, unique to MS new prototype is the added physical dimension. The technology behind uses two off-the-shelf Hitachi CPX1 60Hz projectors (max resolution 1600×1200 Pixels now out of production) for its initial setup in combination with fast optical shutters to create the two interleaved 60Hz images and two high-res Imaging Source DMK 21BF04 FireWire cameras fitted with IR pass filters to limit sensing to the infrared spectrum. More detailed technical / background information in the MS Research paper below.
We’ve found two videos that demonstrate some of the different aspects of this impressive prototype. Additional images are available in the MS Research paper.
- MS Multi-Touch Surface coming to an AT&T shop near you
- Electronic Paper: LG Philips demonstrates color A4-size E-Paper
- Research: Perceptive Pixel’s multi-touch display (2)
- Research: What people actually need and want from technology
Telecom giant AT&T is the first company worldwide that will use Microsoft Surface™ touch and device recognition technology in retail shops.
Starting from April 17 the multi-touch screens will be available in selected shops – to be more precise – shops in New York, Atlanta, San Antonio and San Francisco will be the first to get the devices. AT&T is planning to expand the deployment to more of its 2,200 shops throughout 2008…
LG Philips LCD, the world’s second largest liquid crystal display maker, has developed the first A4-sized color electronic-paper.
The flexible display panel which is 35.9cm across its diagonal and just 0.3 millimeters thin can display up to 4096 colors. The company says that the images displayed are comparable in quality to printed pages. The e-paper panel only uses power when the image changes on the display.
…Like the black and white flexible display, the color version uses a substrate that arranges Thin-Film Transistors (TFT) on metal foil rather than glass, allowing it to recover its original shape after being bent. This model includes a color filter coated onto the plastic substrate, allowing it to display color images.
LG.Philips LCD’s use of metal foil and plastic substrate rather than glass substrate makes…
There is a new video of Jeff Han’s latest multi-touch display online that can be manipulated intuitively with the fingertips, and responds to varying levels of pressure.
It looks like that we might build one of these displays for an upcoming project soon. Watch this space for more detailed information…
Technology-related products and services will increasingly be shaped by 12 underlying principles, or “technology values”. These values – such as simplicity, efficiency, and personalization – represent the characteristics that consumers will look for in products, services, and technologies over the next 10 to 15 years. This is the conclusion of a new study from the [...]