11 Killer Apps for Microsoft Surface [Video]

Microsoft's interactive table, dubbed Surface, brings the heady dream of interactive computing closer reality. As developers find ways to make Surface's gorgeous multi-user interface shine, more and more companies are turning to the device to reinvent their customer experience. Here is a list of the Surface apps already in use, and a few that are coming soon. If you have video of these apps, or know of others that should be included here, email ideas@fastcompany.com with details.

Patient Consultation Interface for Texas Health

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In conjunction with Texas Health Resources, Infusion built a demo app that shows how a digital health care system could be streamlined using Surface for patient consultations. Doctors could use surface to explain procedures and anatomy, learn about drugs and grab patient info from RFID-enabled HMO cards. 

Infusion's Microsoft Surface Blog

Sheraton Hotel Application

Sheraton 2

Sheraton's luxe hotel in Seattle is home to a custom Surface app built in collaboration with Microsoft. The virtual concierge allows guests to explore a constellation of media about Seattle, all while listening to local music and using maps to plan their day trips.

Sheraton Seattle Hotel

Barclay's Premier Account App

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Banking giant Barclay's uses a Microsoft Surface app to let its premier-level customers interact with their account information in an intuitive, fluid environment.

Microsoft Surface For Barclays Banks

Coldwell Banker's Home Search App

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Coldwell Banker Unveils Innovative Use of Microsoft Surface

MSNBC's Electoral Coverage App

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Developer Vectorform built several Surface apps specially for NBC News to use on-air, enabling political analyst Chuck Todd to interact with election results, trends, and maps to explore the last presidential election in real-time.

Microsoft unveils revolutionary device

Harrah's iBar

Microsoft Surface Harrahs

At their Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, Harrah's has filled the casino's iBar with Surface units built to play games, take drink orders and interact--or more accurately, flirt--with other Surface users across the bar.

Microsoft Surface Technology Launches in First-Ever Entertainment Venue, iBar at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

Churchend Primary School, United Kingdom

Torfaen Education Application

Surface isn't all about making a sale or entertaining guests. Students and teachers at a school in the U.K. have been running a pilot program to see how Surface apps can make learning vocabulary and foreign languages more intuitive.

First School in Europe to use Microsoft' Surface'

E-Sponder SuperBowl App

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Working with the City of Tampa and the organizers of SuperBowl XLIII, Surface developer E-Sponder experimented with using Surface's rich mapping interface to give Incident Command Staff a 3-D view of the cityscape and track emergency response resources.

Tampa Authorities deploy latest technology for Super Bowl Security

Phenom Restaurant App

Kyodai Ken Sushi Application 2

Surface partner Phenom developed this proof-of-concept app for restaurants and bars, to show how the hospitality industry can make ordering and learning about food entertaining and effortless.

Kyodai Ken Sushi Bar on Surface from Phenomblue on Vimeo.

Kyodai Ken Sushi Bar

Identity Mine Retail App

Identity Mine Still 2

Another proof-of-concept app for the hospitality industry, this one developed by Identity Mine, shows how customers could use Surface to design a custom snowboard, shop for different vintages of wine and order drinks with a few finger-flicks.

Identity Mine Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Mobile Connect

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One of Microsoft's in-house experimental apps is Mobile Connect, a Bluetooth-enabled app that allows a mobile phone to share multimedia and contacts with Surface just by placing the device on the screen and dragging information to and from the phone.

Mobile Connect available to our customers

Related: Can't Touch This From Issue 112 | February 2007

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21 Comments

  • Jenny Graham

    Awesome - I am sure the Surface will have a big part to play in the future for many companies. I will certainly be informaing some of my closest associates about this.
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  • George f

    Wonderful article.. with informative videos....all are very good.... you shown some latest technologies.... Keep up

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  • Jason Makepeace

    I can't believe that these technologies have been delayed so far. After all bill Gates was so keen on e-paper, and free hand e-writing last year. I've seen some great progress in this area at a research project for a Ph.D. At University of Cambridge.

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  • David Miller

    Awesome - I am sure the Surface will have a big part to play in the future for many companies. I will certainly be informaing some of my closest associates about this.

    David M,
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  • David Miller

    Awesome - I am sure the Surface will have a big part to play in the future for many companies. I will certainly be informaing some of my closest associates about this.

    David M,
    Bad Credit Contracts

  • David Miller

    Awesome - I am sure the Surface will have a big part to play in the future for many companies. I will certainly be informaing some of my closest associates about this.

    David M,
    Bad Credit Contracts

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  • Greg Mattison

    Fantastic article covering this excellent technology which has many potential applications, as evident in these examples. For everyone of these examples, there are countless other ways this technology could be implemented as well. Here's another video from CES 2008 with many real-world potential implementations using Microsoft Surface. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    Habanero is launching a practice area dedicated to designing and implementing Microsoft Surface based solutions. As a proof of concept, we built our own table and implemented a simple interface application as well. The beauty of this is the cost is not as much as the MS table (around $20K) and is not constrained by LCD display size. The multitouch screen could be virutally any size. Here's a video of our prototype unit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    If you know of anyone who may be interested in such a solution, please let us know - http://www.habanero.com or http://twitter.com/HabaneroWeb.

  • Jim Allen

    The Education app referenced in this article being used at Churchend Primary school is actually called Finguistics and was done as a joint project between RM and the Microsoft Technology Centre in the UK. The video was taken when RM and Microsoft took Surface to a school in the UK and left it with them for a couple of days to have a look at and play Finguistics. The feedback and reaction of both the pupils and teachers of Surface and Finguistics was very positive and they “got it” very quickly. The photo in the article is of a similar app that Infusion have done since.

  • Robert Slagter

    We're experimenting with "Combine & Create" - a Surface app that lets multiple knowledge workers drag content such as slides from their respective workspaces and "staple" them into a slide set (using a physical object with a dot pattern the Surface table recognizes). The resulting presentation is then e-mailed from the table to the people's inbox. The whole thing is still a prototype, but provides us with valuable insights in how such touch surfaces can be used to support knowledge work.

    The experiment with the prototype now runs at a large bank in The Netherlands. More on: http://www.futureworkspaces.nl... and watch the video on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Joe Dawson

    Some innovative concepts shown here, definitely potential with the consultations as that looks like an ideal working environment. Doubt that my children will get to experience the Surface application in the classroom as I suspect that will be a few generations away!

  • Paul Massaro

    re: Movies (Stuart) -- An actual Surface is used in detail for about 60 seconds or so of the recent remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (with Keanu Reeves). The medical team is shown using the object recognition and multi touch capabilities of Surface in (what I assume is a fake) "DNA scanning" type of medical app. The MS logo is also prominently displayed in this instance.

  • Stuart Kortekaas

    I can understand why the makers of the Bond movies have resisted the urge so far to bring back the gadgets, when the gap between what can be done in movies and in reality is narrowing. (Of course though just because the technology exists doesn't mean it's cheap enough or reliable enough to be mass produced)

    The first thing that came to mind when I saw this article was the interactive desk used by M & Staff in Quantum of Solace. Might have to watch the movie again closely to see if a Microsoft logo appears on it anywhere!

  • Paul Massaro

    Hi,

    Actually, the education app shown here is the Infusion Education Suite. The image is a still image from the demo video found here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    As well, Infusion created the Texas Health Resources, Barclays Premier, and Super Bowl app shown above. The Super Bowl app was in partnership with E-Sponder -- it uses E-Sponder data built over Infusion's Falcon Eye.

    You can check out demo videos for each of these apps (and a bunch more including casino, retail, and a bookstore app that shows real un-tagged object recognition) on Infusion TV at: http://www.youtube.com/Infusio...

    Thanks!
    Paul