Video: Microsoft’s new, somewhat awesome coffee-table computer

posted at 3:04 pm on May 30, 2007 by Allahpundit

Looks like an old Pac Man module, and like an old Pac Man module, it’s out of most consumers’ price range: five to 10 grand, with a home version expected in three to five years if it catches on. Coolest feature: the cell-phone price comparison. Least cool feature: the look on the red-headed idiot’s face when the drink gets set down, as though his wife’s just told him he’s going to be a father.

Definitely, positively the second-most awesome touchscreen technology we’ve ever featured here, though.

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That stuff was being done at Xerox PARC 12 years ago. I wonder whether it will be more successful now that the technology will allow for more seemlessness, the cost will be cheaper, and the company is actually known for productization.

calbear on May 30, 2007 at 3:10 PM

I really like this being used in the restaurant, make your orders, splice up payments, throw down the credit cards. That’s just awesome.

Seixon on May 30, 2007 at 3:11 PM

I really like this being used in the restaurant, make your orders, splice up payments, throw down the credit cards. That’s just awesome.

I agree. I feel like a tool for saying so, but I was mildly impressed when she was able to order a piece of cake through the screen. What’s next? Ordering pizzas through the phone?

Allahpundit on May 30, 2007 at 3:13 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_table

Not only that, but if you go on that page it’s a coffee table computer about coffee tables!

Keljeck on May 30, 2007 at 3:14 PM

Yes, but can you play Pac Man on it?

see-dubya on May 30, 2007 at 3:15 PM

I have way too much c*&p on my desk for one of these! And they already use touch screens in restaurants! So, for me, there are way better things to spend money on.

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 30, 2007 at 3:16 PM

Like Keljeck, I immediately thought of a Seinfeld episode.

Queasy on May 30, 2007 at 3:17 PM

Cool, so now we can send a note to someone in our own handwriting (fingerwriting?) instead of typing…oh…. wait.

reaganaut on May 30, 2007 at 3:19 PM

stoopid. This is lame. I much prefere a coffee table that I can open up and grab a beer out of.

Editor on May 30, 2007 at 3:21 PM

Got one better…

for you Editor.

Mazztek on May 30, 2007 at 3:28 PM

What happens when you sit on it?

Vanquisher on May 30, 2007 at 3:29 PM

It scans you…

Mazztek on May 30, 2007 at 3:32 PM

Mazztek on May 30, 2007 at 3:28 PM

Effing-A-Right! Next thing you’re going to tell me is that it takes cheuvenistic slurs and keeps on pouring.

Editor on May 30, 2007 at 3:34 PM

I think its great I don’t have to actually talk to anyone anymore. The table is more amusing than anyone I know. Awesome!

lorien1973 on May 30, 2007 at 3:35 PM

what happens if you God forbid spill your beer on it, ot get tomato sauce from your pizza on it?

pabo on May 30, 2007 at 3:38 PM

What all the guys would like to ask but may be afraid to: How does pr0n look on it?

JammieWearingFool on May 30, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Heh. Network tables together with a microphone and you will be able to eavesdrop on any table in a restaurant.

And a denial of service attack against the table would be spilled pancake syrup.

BelchSpeak on May 30, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Actually AP,

The technology for the Microsoft table is licensed from and produced by Perceptive Pixel, the company in the previous article that you linked to.

wearyman on May 30, 2007 at 3:45 PM

JammieWearingFool on May 30, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Heh, well, you can view and stretch photos, images and video, so I’d imagine that it’d look much like pr0n on your PC screen.

Only horizontal!

Wait.. that didn’t sound quite right…

wearyman on May 30, 2007 at 3:47 PM

Reminds me of the Minority Report….but better. No Tom Cruise.

heatherrc77 on May 30, 2007 at 3:50 PM

Not shown: The Blue Tabletop of Death.

Jim Treacher on May 30, 2007 at 3:50 PM

First thought: Awesome! Second thought: This is going to make chiropractors rich.

Tanya on May 30, 2007 at 3:56 PM

heatherrc77 on May 30, 2007 at 3:50 PM

Or, the Island (no fancy gloves, req’d).

Is there a Scarlet Johanson plug-in?

… wait, that didn’t sound right, either.

yo on May 30, 2007 at 4:02 PM

Is there a Scarlet Johanson plug-in?

Or for Allah, a Rosie plug in?

Just kiddin AP!!!!!

heatherrc77 on May 30, 2007 at 4:05 PM

Cripes, just when I convinced my dad to buy an Imac.

It’s great, but can you download porn?

Kini on May 30, 2007 at 4:08 PM

This is going to make chiropractors rich.

Did you see the story today about laptops making people crippled cuz of being hunched over all the time? I can testify to that!

lorien1973 on May 30, 2007 at 4:09 PM

a Rosie plug in?

… one can only cringe at how such a thing would affect the I/O rates.

There’s also a joke involving monster cables, but I can’t. quite. reach it.

yo on May 30, 2007 at 4:10 PM

It’s cute, but it’s simply not a good idea. Fingers are not as good pointing devices a mouse. Try using your finger to click between the two characters where you want to insert text. And besides that, imagine having to keep your arms off while you work, and imagine the neck aches at the end of the day from staring down.

Now if the smarts were in the cell phone, and you could just work on it using any old monitor/keyboard where you happened to be, now that would be cool. But that won’t sell Windows, now will it.

pedestrian on May 30, 2007 at 4:12 PM

Tanya on May 30, 2007 at 3:56 PM

My thoughts exactly. Two months with this thing and your gonna have a pain in your neck you’ll never be rid of.

I’m waiting for the projection phones. There are a couple of companies in Israel working on it right now. You set your cellphone/computer on a little stand and it projects the image of the screen on the wall behind and projects a keyboard display on the tabletop. The sensors are already able to register 400 characters a minute right now and they’re gettin faster and more accurate every year. Once they work out the battery capacity and install safe networking from your phone to your home computer it’s a done deal. That’s the future tech I want. Plus Kurzweil’s linguistic translation software perfected. Then I’ll be happy.

The Apologist on May 30, 2007 at 4:17 PM

Where’s the freakin’ Blue Screen of Death?

Seriously, anyone using Vista, which is a watered down version of what MS promised for years, is not going to take this stuff seriously.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on May 30, 2007 at 4:37 PM

Big deal. Apple is going to start selling one that fits in your pocket before the end of next month.

tommylotto on May 30, 2007 at 5:14 PM

I am more for the Halo Deck. When , they cna turn my room into halographic life like forms that you can feel, call me.

StuLongIsland on May 30, 2007 at 5:17 PM

The technology for the Microsoft table is licensed from and produced by Perceptive Pixel, the company in the previous article that you linked to.

wearyman on May 30, 2007 at 3:45 PM

Are you sure of this? I ask because the Microsoft site makes no mention of Jeff Han or Perceptive Pixel and includes a “development history” that makes it sound like they came up with it all by themselves.

Which, as many should know by now, rarely happens at Microsoft – they usually buy emerging techonologies and/or technology companies and then assimilate the development of same into their own systems. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was licensed from Perceptive Pixel (especially since the interface gestures are identical and probably patented by Perceptive Pixel), but Microsoft isn’t telling. Unless I’m missing something.

Mibrilane on May 30, 2007 at 6:15 PM

I am more for the Halo Deck. When , they cna turn my room into halographic life like forms that you can feel, call me.

StuLongIsland on May 30, 2007 at 5:17 PM

There would be a PC in every bedroom and I would never see my husband again….

heh

heatherrc77 on May 30, 2007 at 6:51 PM

eh, I still think the interactive floor looks like more fun.

I do like the idea of ordering drinks and food with Surface: but someone better tell the 9,000 aspiring actors in Hollywood that their night jobs are on the tech hit list.

wordwarp on May 30, 2007 at 8:05 PM

Yikes, Just thought, This might cause a lot of unemployed liberals!!

StuLongIsland on May 30, 2007 at 8:15 PM

looks like they stole the idea.
mutli-user interactive display with cameras beneath the screen is covered by patent application 20050219204.

-Fat Old Guy

Fogpig on May 30, 2007 at 9:26 PM

I look forward to picking one of these up for pennies after they don’t sell – It’s a renewal of bad ideas that didn’t sell in the past.

They’ve tried “neck-arching” displays in the past, in the 80s and 90s they had monitors mounted inside desks and even a few “flat work surfaces,” but they never caught on because they hurt to use for more than a few minutes.

Then there’s touchscreens. Oh, yeah, they’re awesome. You know why you don’t have one? It’s not the cost. It’s “gorilla-arm syndrome,” describing how your arm feels after using a touchscreen monitor.

For certain kinds of applications, it’s cool. For everyday use, it sucks.

We even have projected and touchscreen keyboards no one uses because we like tactile feedback.

I’m sure there will be some really awesome new computer technologies coming down the pipe (AI sophistication allowing voice control over basic tasks, gigantic merged memory/storage devices allowing insanely detailed content and rich interfaces, etc). I just wish people would stop trying to rehash the old failures.

Especially the awful “net PC” concept, AKA the “You Don’t Need a Whole Computer For Yourself” concept, aka networked storage and processing for home users. The only, and I mean ONLY redeeming quality this idea has is the glut of cheap used semi-dumb terminals onto the market every few years – most of which have HDs hacked in and end up as real PCs – or in dumpsters.

Merovign on May 30, 2007 at 10:02 PM

What if prostitutes sit on it?

Black Adam on May 31, 2007 at 6:52 AM