Computer Interactions Using Microsoft Surface Technology Computer Science Essay

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Abstract - Microsoft surface technology is a technology which makes use of gestures instead of I/O (input, output) devices. User makes use of computer through his/her gestures. Surface technology provides a platform where multiple users can interact simultaneously with data and among themselves as well. Microsoft allows user to move information with simple gestures and devices are just placed upon the surface and data is transferred with simple touches. Microsoft surface technology is useful not only at user level but also at business level. It helps in efficient information transfer and potential improve in communication .It improves the facial worth of computer system. It can detect the mobile devices and display all data it contains. Our paper has put some light on aspects of this miraculous technology which includes direct interaction, multi user experience which makes it unique, multi touch and object recognition ,also covering marvelous applications like Concierge, Stimulant Touch Tones and Microsoft Surface Water. This paper explains the hardware specifications while introducing touch pack which includes Microsoft Surface Globe, Microsoft Surface Collage and Microsoft Surface Lagoon

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Introduction To Surface Technology

Microsoft surface is a product that comes under the domain of surface computing. Microsoft multi touch system is developed on the bases of existing capabilities of software , to make use of highly tangible system with large tabletop computer displays, Touch Wall for mounted screens .Microsoft showed many new applications such as 'TOUCHABLE PAINT' in which one can paint on screen just using ones hands. Surface is a multi touch technology, its top layer works as a diffuser and its display is clearly visible at any angle. It is internally lined with 5 infrared cameras, when the surface is touched the light reflects back. It has core 2 duo processor, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB graphic card and also blue tooth antennas. Main interactive features include: direct interaction, multi-touch contact, multiuser environment & object reorganization. System is designed so that it can recognize any object when it is placed on the screen, direct interaction with hands no need of keyboards and mouse or any other peripheral device. Many users can use it at a same time. Its underlying operating system is modified form of windows vista's operating system. It uses the same DLP light engine found in many rear-projection HDTVs. The footprint of the visible light screen, at 1024 x 768 pixels, is actually smaller than the invisible overlapping infrared projection to allow for better recognition at the edges of the screen. It is a multi input touch screen. Microsoft surface is a revolutionary computer which help people to interact among themselves and with data objects in simple and intuitive way .It has a large table top interactive surface through which multiple users can collaborate and simultaneously make use of it .It makes use of cameras and infrared spectrum to analyze and recognize different objects like fingers, tagged items and shapes. This input is then processed by Microsoft surface 3-duo processor and the resulting information is displayed using rear pr

Fig. 1 Hardware representation of surface technology

This technology allows the use of non digital objects for input as well like paint brush is use to create a digital painting in software. This is made possible by the use of cameras for input. The system does not relay on restriction properties of touch screen or touchpad devices such as capacitance, temperature of the device and electrical resistance. Basic applications are shipped in surface which is customized for the customers including photos, videos, and games .A unique feature that comes preinstalled in Microsoft surface is a pond effect application in which user can create ripples in water surface by simply just touching the screen. This is same as screen saver used in older windows versions. Surface computing is the term for the use of a specialized computer GUI in which common GUI objects is replaced by everyday objects. Instead of a keyboard and mouse, the user interacts directly with a touch-sensitive screen. It has been said that this more closely replicates the familiar hands-on experience of everyday object manipulation. The use of touch screen has made it a total surface technology because of which there is no longer need of using any intermediate device .Secondly the old way of using cursor to interact indirectly with the display user uses his fingers instead. It does not make use of tones of input devices instead uses only camera based vision system.

Fig. 2 focusing on the camera places inside the surface technology

Historical Aspects of Surface Technology

The product idea for Surface was initially conceptualized in 2001 by Steven Bathiche of Microsoft Hardware and Andy Wilson of Microsoft Research.

In October 2001, a virtual team was formed with Bathiche and Wilson as key members, to bring the idea to the next stage of development.

In 2003, the team presented the idea to the Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, in a group review. Later, the virtual team was expanded and a prototype nicknamed T1 was produced within a month. The prototype was based on an IKEA table with a hole cut in the top and a sheet of architect vellum used as a diffuser. The team also developed some applications, including pinball, a photo browser and a video puzzle. Over the next year, Microsoft built more than 85 early prototypes for Surface. The final hardware design was completed in 2005.

A similar concept was used in the 2002 science fiction movie Minority Report. As noted in the DVD commentary, the director Steven Spielberg stated the concept of the device came from consultation with Microsoft during the making of the movie. One of the film's technology consultant's associates from MIT later joined Microsoft to work on the Surface project.

Surface was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 30, 2007 at The Wall Street Journal's 'D: All Things Digital' conference in Carlsbad, California. Surface Computing is part of Microsoft's Productivity and Extended Consumer Experiences Group, which is within the Entertainment & Devices division. The first few companies to deploy Surface will include Harrah's Entertainment, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, T-Mobile and a distributor, International Game Technology.

When Steve Bathiche and Andy Wilson conceived their idea of "surface computing" at Microsoft in 2001, they were way ahead of their time. Fortunately, they could afford to wait more than six years to get the idea to market.

Surface computing is a major advancement that moves beyond the traditional user interface to a more natural way of interacting with digital content. Although users will be able to interact with Surface in select restaurants, hotels, retail establishments and public entertainment venues by the end of the year, the product has been years in the making at Microsoft.

Applications Of Surface Technology


World's first enterprise search application developed by EMC Conchango. It is only being designed for Microsoft surface technology

DaVinci is a prototype app developed by Razorfish for Microsoft Surface. This app tells how technology shows functionality to blur the line between real-world laws of physics and physics in the non-existent and virtual world.

Amnesia Razorfish business cards is out-of-world kind of application for the use of Microsoft Surface technology. These business cards get activated as soon as they interact with the Microsoft Surface table.


There are hundreds of applications available for Microsoft Surface created by Microsoft Surface Partners.  Here are examples of how Microsoft Surface is facilitating industry with its new applications

Financial Services.

Microsoft Surface assist by providing ease of replacing complicated product descriptions with a dynamic and easy-to-use interface that is empowering and engaging. For example, surface can act as collaborative meeting space, viewing portfolio options and bringing professionalism to an upgraded level

Health Care

. Microsoft Surface brought a new view of doctors and patients realtionship. For example, patients can collaborate with clinical staff and can have a self check-ins. For clinicians, Microsoft Surface provides a smart white board for interaction with the emergency room or medical center, helping teams


giving demo of clinical representation


Microsoft Surface introducing totally new ideas to intuit and entertaining customer with being cost effective by incurring higher staff. For examples loyality cards by placing on Microsoft surface to trigger purchases for customers favourite item including drink or any meal. Companies could work on their online marketing campaigns


Microsoft Surface can connect customers with more and richer product information and create collaborative sales engagements right inside retail outlets, connecting the physical store, sales staff and digital content. For example, Surface recognizes mobile devices, allowing customers to download product information, compare products, cross-sell related items, and select add-on features.

Public Sector.

Microsoft Surface creates a seamless way of connecting people with important and complex data. For example, security or emergency agencies can create a collaborative digital command center for planning and orchestrating large scale events, with agency personnel working together with real time mapping and location data. Or educators can deploy Microsoft Surface in classroom settings to create an entirely new way to integrate rich and interactive digital content into the learning environment.

Microsoft Surface core application

Microsoft Surface Concierge: Concierge provides a facility to display interactive maps and highlight specific locations, including attractions in and around their venue to companies

Brief Description

Microsoft Surface Concierge 1.0 SP1 is a mapping application that runs on the Microsoft Surface 1.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1) software platform.

System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems:

Windows Vista;

Windows XP

Applicable Microsoft Surface Software Platforms:

Microsoft Surface Runtime 1.0 SP1

Microsoft Surface SDK 1.0 SP1

Microsoft Surface Photos

Photos allows users access and handle the photos & videos which are being installed on Microsoft surface or downloaded via interactive device

Brief Description

Microsoft Surface Photos 1.0 SP1 is a photo and video viewing application that runs on the Microsoft Surface 1.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1) software platform

System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems: Windows Vista; Windows XP

Windows Vista

Applicable Microsoft Surface Software Platforms:

Microsoft Surface Runtime 1.0 SP1

Microsoft Surface SDK 1.0 SP1

Microsoft Surface Music

Music allows companies to add music collections to a Microsoft Surface unit for users to browse through, select, and play

Microsoft Surface Games Pack

With the Games Pack, users can play the classic games of Chess and Checkers in a whole new way, plus use their fingers and gestures to try their hand at the innovative new Tiles and Ribbons games.

Table Toss is a game built for Microsoft Surface. Players toss small pouches of beans towards the targets and the closest one gets the highest points.

Microsoft Surface Water

Like a screen saver, the Water attract application runs when a Microsoft Surface unit is not being used. It invites users to approach and touch Surface, using life-like water ripples to demonstrate how Surface responds to touches and objects placed on the screen. The Water application comes pre-installed on Microsoft Surface units.

Sample Applications:

The following sample applications demonstrate various uses of Microsoft Surface in business and technical scenarios. They are for demonstration purposes only and are not fully functional applications.

"Financial Services Sample Application

The Microsoft Surface Financial Services sample application shows how a user can invest their money with a fictional bank, with the help of interactive graphs, videos and service options, while using objects placed on the screen to trigger unique responses Financial Services sample application shows how a user can invest their money with a fictional bank, with the help of interactive graphs, videos and service options, while using objects placed on the screen to trigger unique responses.

Brief Description

The Financial Services sample application showcases how Microsoft Surface applications can create an engaging, collaborative experience for businesses in the financial services industry.

The Financial Services sample application showcases how Microsoft Surface applications can create an engaging, collaborative experience for businesses in the financial services industry.

This sample application highlights multitouch, multiuser, and object recognition scenarios that will help financial services companies create customer loyalty, improve overall satisfaction, and streamline operations. Microsoft Surface can help create value for retail banking, capital markets, or insurance in the following ways": [11]

Transform customer experience.

Increase customer loyalty through personalized content.

Help businesses sell more effectively.

Put customers in charge of their own future.

Enable rich business processes.

Mobile Connect Sample Application

The Microsoft Surface Mobile Connect sample application connects a Bluetooth®-enabled phone to Microsoft Surface. It shows the user and mobile relationship while adding sharing photos ,contacts and ring tones using the social and intuitive aspect of Microsoft surface

Brief Description

The Microsoft Surface Mobile Connect sample application connects a Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phone to a Microsoft Surface unit to enable users to interact with data and contacts on their phone in an engaging and exciting way.


This application facilitates customers to use mobile for sharing browsing ,adding photos and ring tones to contacts

Certified for Microsoft Applications Surface:

The Certified for Microsoft Surface process means "Surface Partner applications have undergone thorough testing and met style and user experience guidelines as defined by Microsoft"

Stimulant TouchTones:

Touch tones facilitating up to four people to create music at the same time on Microsoft surface,

While providing a facility to customize sounds and visuals matching any theme of any brand and for that you don't need any proper music classes for bringing up any sound that sounds beautiful. Playing instruments by touching a colored spinner spinner, change the arrow directions on the grid to change the melody, and that's about it!

Be aurally fixated.

Touch tones is an integrated application based on collaborative, multi-touch, multi-user, grid-based music sequencer being released as freeware for Microsoft Surface. Four instruments distributed across four octaves, all playing to a master tempo is all what touch tune is .Triggering sounds controlled by users or by simply pressing a colored button and pressing one of the icons on the grid at the same time .The grid's pattern producing melodies, and it can be altered even while playing the wholly and a very simple visual user interface can be round out by volume and reset controls.

Musical, magical, and free.

Un believeable touchtones facilitating with totally surprizing and pleasant musical expierence for a small group of folk.An integrated video based on help instructions made its learning easy enough to be explored in few seconds.The new features emerge through play brings t ricky melody paths through the note grids and playing of touch tones with multiple fingers or key board.It works from user of age 4 to 60 bringing a complete entertainment package for the whole family


fig2 showing contents within devices placed on Microsoft surface

Customizable by design

Touchtones along with their enchanting innovative designs and nice sounds provides reskinnable design.Sounds and visual can be customized totally to look like any brand mood or theme that is desirable

nsquared MakeWords 1.0: nsquared is a technology categorize in to 3 divisions:




Each of the divisions within nsquared keeps some specified aspect of growing technology under consideration to assist it

Active Research Areas In Surface Technology

Microsoft surface technology has a grate effect on human eye ball. There are a lot of applications built up using surface technology .Currently there are five major areas the surface technology working on .First one is the ENTERPRISE RESEARCH application. This is done for the very first time to make a research for enterprise application. Second is the development of MICROSOFT SURFACE PHYSICS

LLISTRATOR .This application is use to blur a line between the real world physics and the virtual world physics.Third is the use of a business cards publish in America named as Amnesia Razorfish i.e it makes the staff directory visible on surface. This special card works only when placed on the surface.Forth one is for the =T-shirt designers .This application is still under progress. Last but not the least is the Microsoft surface game .This game is named as TABLE TOSS.

Now a days microsoft surface is a hot topic for development world,the unbelievable, multi touch technology named microsoft surface that has the ability to interact to real world objects and digital contents,and respond to hand gestures in a simple and intuitive manner.

Chunhui Zhang and his partners in the Hardware Computing Group at Microsoft Research Asia have an intuitive idea.They have been inquiring the features of microsoft surface in depth,having a vision of creating alike technology available easily to every user and its demo has been given in Microsoft Research's TechFest 2010 delivering seminar on mobile surface.

Zhengyou Zhang from Microsoft Research Redmond is working with Chunhui Zhang on this project,which gives a practical application of productive ideas being implemented like cross pollination spreading microsoft surface technology

"We'd like to bring the Surface experience to mobile scenarios," Chunhui Zhang says, "with just a common camera, a pico project, and a mobile device. And we'd like to enable 3-D interaction with any surface."

Its very much agreeable-Zhang mentioned "any surface",which clears the concept that it can include even a coffee table and at the same time a paper piece which opens a gate way to opportunities

The developers and reasearch team are working on making such interaction totally up to a lay man level,yet simple easy hardware system which includes mobile devices ,digital cameras ,and projector system,The algorithm strong enough to run a system that has a scaning power of 3-D objects in real time The 3-D data enabling projection onto surface while keeping orginal scale undreconsideration and providing user an interaction with projected data to have great results while facilitating with normal projection

The 3-D data enabling projection onto surface while keeping orginal scale undreconsideration and providing user an interaction with projected data to have great results

Chunhui Zhang (left) and Rui Gao of Microsoft Research Asia demo Mobile Surface.


The demo given by zhang and RUI during TECHfest features evtertained people while showing a drum set which has the capacity to be played not only in 3-D space on a table top but also in the air while making use of hands or some drum sticks.There demo also included visualization which provides control of music at back ground while using touch of your finger

There is another innovative practiacl application of this amazing touch technology which uses small paper cards which delivers augmented information.It can be explained like this if a map is being projected on the surface some card while laying over it will be displaying some other information like such as a satellite image or navigational aids

In addition,there is a facility to slide the card infront of that projector while increasing the distance and visualizing different surfaces of information like planing different floors in a building

It can be concluded like this mobile surface provides interaction with digital objects and information about the world around while utilizing commodity

"Basically," he said, "it's easy to use to create a 3-D interaction for mobile computing."

Conclusion And Future Work

Microsoft surface technology is an innovative technology. It got number of possibilities with it. It then depends upon the user, the way he makes use of it. Like if one goes into a mobile shop, he can place few of the models of his choice and place them on surface. He can see the features as well as comparison of it as well . It further can be used for many things like on can place different kinds of products like juices and get what ingredients are used in it. Microsoft surface has revolutionized the vision of people using computer. Its total touch system without the use of input devices and has made it easier for the user as well. It has almost completely vanished the use of hardware devices like no use of mouse and not even a use of a cursor to interact with the display.

fig3:Microsoft surface screen saver creating ripples on surface

Microsoft surface totally changes the way how one interact with the digital contents. Its power of recognizing the fingers, tagged objects and shapes is a tremendous improvement in the architecture of computer .Its a future computing system that leaves the old way of interaction with the display far behind. Its just like a coffee table .Its magic relies in the fact that despite of the use of touch interface it does not make use of touch screen .That tells the difference between the simple touch screen display and use of infrared in it. Five cameras are used that are placed at special angles and they record the motion of an object on the table.

The development of surface technology is just as the jump from DOS to GUI system .Its internal lying operating system is same as of windows vista. Microsoft surface technology also provides us with the ability to debug any application using SNOOP. t provides a tree to see the window presentation foundation applications along with their properties. Once the application which is to be tested or debugged is selected then user have just to click the snoop icon. Snoop is built using C++ language .Microsoft surface has undoubtedly changed the vision of doing business and interaction

.Multiple users and multi processes can be performed on a single platform. It provide a great place for many users to simultaneously use the surface and perform their related tasks. The under lying operating system is windows vista. Microsoft surface is a tremendous improvement to the future technical devices. The performance of surface is much faster than one expects because there is no need of triggering menus in it and no traditional use of Gui equipments. Use windows vista made it favourable for certain devices because devise derivers are already installed.

Microsoft surface initially used vista operating system but currently its using windows 7.Windows 7 is available with six versions currently,out of which three are used by common user.Further development of better operating system will enhance the use of surface technology. Following graph shows the relative improvement in the under lying operating system i.e vista and windows 7.

fig6:Graph showing windows 7 vs windows vista

showing effieciency of Microsoft surface

There are three LCD projectors under the table top. The phenomenon of total internal reflection is used in the multi touch screen. This screen is FTIR i.e frustrated total internal reflection screen. Three major things to develop this multi-touch screen are:

1.a sheet of transparent acrylic,

2. a chain of infrared LEDs

3 a camera with an IR filter

a diagram included that explained how the technology works for projecting and sensing on a spherical surface:


It works like as soon as the infrared light hits the sheet it strikes the top and bottom of the acrylic sheet at parallel edges .This light is then detected by the camera. This camera is only meant to detect the infrared light. The use of acrylic sheet is because of its optical properties. This technology makes use of java and C++ languages for development of tools.

The Improvement is made I this technology as this much big surface is not mobile in nature. For that a sensing device is introduced that makes use of coloured marker caps that one wears on the finger tips and by simply movement of fingers the device senses and performes the user specified demmand. It is very much like surface but is cheaper and mobile in nature. Further more there's no need of hard core surface for it. This device is a six sence device.The laser-based infinite depth-of-focus projector, called an "aremac" visible is used in it.

Fig5 internal circuitary of sixth sense technology


The laser-based aremac was developed to project onto any 3d surface and does not have, nor does it require, any focusing adjustments.It then display the required information .Like if one visits a market and got confusion among getting the best out of two of same kind, this sensing device will display which one is best among two.

Fig7:led and camera within sixth sense technology

This is a wearable gestural device that auguments the physical world with digital information.And it allows user to interact with the information. It practically makes easy for the user to deal with things easily with daily use items.