Microsoft Touchwall Multi-touch Display is some of the world Coolest Electronics

May 15, 2008

As much as we all love the outdoors and outdoor gear, I know that many of you have to work like a regular Joe. Me too. That's why I love any minute that I can get out on a bike or on my skis to try out some cool outdoor gear. But I also enjoy my work, which happens to involve lots of internet technology and tech gear. So I can't help but be excited about new tech gear that comes out -- like the Microsoft Touchwall (built on Plex) that was announced by Bill Gates today at the Microsoft CEO Summit. The Microsoft Touchwall is a multi-touch display that reminds me of Minority Report. You know how Tom Cruise has that multi-touch display? Well that's what the Microsoft Touchwall reminds me of -- a drag and drop wall display like Minority Report, but from Microsoft. The best part about it? The Touchwall's hardware gear only costs a couple hundred dollars. But don't pull out your wallet yet -- it isn't quite ready to be sold yet. The way it works is with three lasers along the bottom of any wall surface (their first experiment with the Touchwall was on a sheet of cardboard, if you can believe it). Those three lasers scatter out in a mesh across the surface, which can track your finger touches. You can zoom in & out on items, very similar to an iPhone touchscreen, by just tapping. The Touchwall also works like a whiteboard that you can draw on with your finger, too. Basically, it's like having an iPhone touchscreen on your projector screen coupled with an electronic whiteboard. Very cool, and very useful for those situations where what you want to review in a group setting is much larger than a simple PowerPoint page. Like big diagrams that would be crunched too small if constrained to a PowerPoint slide. With the Touchwall you can just have the whole diagram, and touch the wall (great name) to zoom into & out of the detailed areas of the diagram that you want to review with the group. I think this will save a lot of projector screens from getting written on. I can't say how many times I have been describing something that is projected on the screen, and almost wrote on it thinking it was a whiteboard. The Microsoft Touchwall looks like it can be projected straight onto a wall like a projector, or it could be set up as rear projections onto glass (see the pics here). The Touchwall is related to the Microsoft Surface, which is a touchscreen tabletop that can recognize items and let you interact with them. But the Microsoft Surface is about $10 grand and isn't very widely available. This will be (not quite yet). Think about how cool window shopping would be, if this were projected on the window? You could be walking down Main Street in Park City, pass JANS, and see some new fly fishing gear spotlighted in the window. You touch the window and it comes to life with all sorts of details about the gear that is spotlighted in the window. You drag around, view some video, and decide to walk in and buy. Whole new experience, man. Anyway, enjoy these pics & this video that were posted on TechCrunch earlier today about it. [youtube][/youtube]

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