Robert Scoble wrote a blog post “This is why I love the tech industry…” late last night where you can almost feel the excitement he was still experiencing hours after his interview with Microsoft Researcher Andy Wilson. Andy as Robert puts it “He’s the guy behind the “Surface” technology that you use your hands on. ”
For edtech folks that are familiar with the work of Johnny Chung Lee, Ph.D. Graduate Student @ Carnegie Mellon University and his Wii remote projects, they can relate to Robert’s fascination when they remember the amazement they felt the first time they learned about Surface Computing from Johnny Chung Lee’s work.
If you are familiar with Johnny’s work in Surface Computing when you watch Robert’s interview videos you should quickly see the link between Andy’s and Johnny’s work. If you are not familiar with Johnny’s work or Surface Computing technology these videos will give you a great introduction to Surface Computing.
The only fundamental difference in Johnny’s and Andy’s work in Surface Computing is funding. Johnny is a grad student that creates inexpensive surface computing prototypes for early adopters in the open for free while Andy has a well paying gig working for a commercial company, Microsoft helping them integrate surface technology into their future products.
Robert’s interview videos below give you the opportunity to peek at Microsoft’s Surface Computing work.
- Part I 28 minutes long – LaserTouch: AN Inexpensive Multi-touch sensing platform
- Part II 1 minute long – Finger or stylus?
- Part III 6 minutes long – Interacting with virtual objects on a display that can show depth
Keep in mind that the work shown in these videos is software research and not an end user product that will be available at Best Buy next year.
The good news for grad students like Johnny Chung Lee is that big technology companies like Microsoft and Apple are paying attention and understand that this type of interface is the furture input device of Operating Systems of the future.
Side note: I wish someone like Andy or Johnny would explain the software algorithms behind Surface Computing. This information has the potential to be a great discussion for a Math class. If the discussion could be geared toward high school students it would show a real world example of why Math is so important for the future and how it fits into the real world. It may even influence a few bright Math stars to go into the Surface Computing Technology field.