Microsoft's Surface shows off the capabilities of multi-touch computing admirably, but it's still limited by the machine's box. It's no surprise then to find plans to take Surface off a flat screen and dot it all over your home.
The BBC video below, shot inside Microsoft's showcase house of the future—The Microsoft Home—which is designed to demonstrate technology that may come to our homes in "five-to-ten years." Though the Microsoft Home isn't exactly a new concept, we still thought the BBC video was pretty cool, so we'll show you anyway:
The idea is that computing technology will be integrated into your home, with projectors and motion sensors directed at walls and flat surfaces like tables. The whole affair has an advanced touch-, gesture- and object-sensitive interface that both responds to your inputs and delivers almost physical responses too: The projected dough cutting template on the kitchen work surface is particularly neat.
All this is a logical extension of the technology behind Microsoft Surface. That device uses a projected screen image onto a flat table from underneath, and camera-like sensors behind the glass to monitor how you're interacting by touch. But plenty of other companies, including Obscura Digital, have taken the same technology and turned it inside-out to create dynamic interactive computing surfaces out of anything. It's a simplified, large-scale version of the touchscreen everywhere idea I've written about before.
I'm sure many of you would love to live in a home a bit like the one shown here—as well as feeding your Star Trek-based talking computer fantasies ("Tea, Earl Grey, hot.") there are a number of identifiable benefits. It's also far more believable than the Microsoft promotional 2019 vision of the future-style video, possibly because this clip lacks that demo's overly smarmy sheen.
I've got just one question: If the Microsoft Home is now old—and actually due for a big overhaul soon, according to our MS sources—and it can demonstrate all of this capability with current technology, why the heck do we have to wait five-to-ten years to get our hands on it?
Related: Why Microsoft's Vision of 2019 Just Doesn't Cut the Mustard
Related: 11 Killer Apps for Microsoft Surface [Video]
Related: Flexible Touchscreen E-paper Signals the Rise of Touchscreens Everywhere