Interactive Surface

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Disney's 'Touché' touch sensors detect gestures on flesh, furniture, or water. Disney Research, which previously came up with the SideBySide wall-based gaming concept, is back with what looks like a fairly sophisticated touch-sensing technology.

Disney's 'Touché' touch sensors detect gestures on flesh, furniture, or water

The system, called Touché, works by detecting a range of frequencies at the same time, rather than one frequency as on simple capacitive screens. Using this range, the sensors can detect not only multitouch gestures on ordinary screens, but also distinguish between different objects or parts of the body or add touch to nontraditional surfaces, like liquids. The demo video below is fairly impressive: it shows the wide range of gestures that the sensors can pick up (including grasping hands together and submerging your palm underwater.) Microsoft Surface 2.0: From 'Minority Report' to Reality. The Designer Tech Series is supported by the exquisitely crafted, new 2013 Lincoln MKS with Lincoln Drive Control.

Microsoft Surface 2.0: From 'Minority Report' to Reality

Now it gets interesting. The idea of surface computing — interacting with gestures, movements and objects, is quickly moving from the big screen (a la Minority Report) and into reality. From smartphones to tablets to thermostats, touch is becoming the computing input mechanism of choice. With Surface 2.0, Microsoft is actively taking surface computing to the next level. First released in 2008, the Microsoft Surface was a tabletop touch computer with support for multi-touch and multi-gestures. At CES 2011, Microsoft unveiled the Surface 2.0. Last month, Samsung started accepting pre-orders for the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SUR40 in 23 countries. How It Works For the Surface 2.0, Microsoft employs a number of different technologies to make the product really sing.

The iPad (and leading Android tablets) can support up to ten simultaneous points of interaction. Samsung SUR40 (Microsoft Surface 2.0) now shipping. Microsoft's second-generation Surface tabletop, also known as Samsung SUR40 and on pre-order since November, is now shipping.

Samsung SUR40 (Microsoft Surface 2.0) now shipping

The 40-inch multitouch LCD with Full HD, 1920 x 1080 resolution is an AMD chipset, Windows 7, and Microsoft's PixelSense technology. The Gorilla Glass will keep it safe — the $8,400 start price (display only; $9,049 for the tabletop with matching stand) will keep it out of your home. Samsung is currently showing it off at the National Retail Federation conference, as if the MSRP wasn't enough of an indication that this is decidedly not ready for the consumer market. That hasn't stopped developers from making a number of interesting consumer-friendly tabletop games and apps — something tells us Dungeons & Dragons, for example, isn't going to convince anyone on the retail side of its potential. At-home use is still, unfortunately, a generation or two away for all but the most lavish of home theater investors.

Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft Surface 2 hands-on video. It wouldn't be CES without a demo of Microsoft's Surface technology, but this year is a little different — it's very close to being an actual product.

Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft Surface 2 hands-on video

We took it upon ourselves to visit the Samsung booth to check out the Korean manufacturer's SUR40, which should be shipping this month. The SUR40 was loaded up with a variety of apps, games, and tech demos, including a raw view of what the SUR40's internal tracking cameras see. We're looking forward to seeing this product ship so we can see how companies will put it into use. Nathan Ingraham contributed to this report. ExoPC EXOdesk hands-on pictures and video. ExoPC's EXOdesk was originally a touch-enabled panel running Windows 8 and powered by a Core i7 processor.

ExoPC EXOdesk hands-on pictures and video

Well, after stopping by ViewSonic's booth here at CES 2012 we've learned the company has other plans for the EXOdesk. ExoPC has ditched the processor and computer components to help reduce cost, and what we're left with is merely a 1920x1080 32-inch touchscreen monitor fused to a desk. Like the original, this EXOdesk has 10 points of touch, but it simply serves as a secondary monitor for Windows (Mac support is being worked on) rather than a standalone PC. We're told EXOdesk will be shipping at the end of 2012 with a targeted price of $1299. 3M's 46-inch multitouch table supports 20-point input (hands-on pictures) 3M has a monstrous 46-inch multitouch table on display at CES 2012 that reminds us of Microsoft's Surface.

3M's 46-inch multitouch table supports 20-point input (hands-on pictures)

The display has a 1080p resolution, and currently supports up to 20 concurrent touches — though it's theoretically capable of tracking up to 60. Similar to Microsoft's take, 3M sees the technology being put to use in retail stores, military applications, and governmental offices. The software we saw was running off a Mac Mini, with basic Twitter and photo viewing clients. The table is smart enough to ignore palm and arm input, but that shouldn't be an excuse to put your elbows on it. MultiTouch 55-inch Surface-like display now available, upgradable to Windows 8. MultiTouch's 55-inch MultiTaction Cell MT550W7 display is now available to order.

MultiTouch 55-inch Surface-like display now available, upgradable to Windows 8

Powered by Windows 7, the giant interactive display includes unlimited numbers of touch points to allow multiple people to interact with it simultaneously.