If our love of Surface is an addiction, then a recent delivery in the mail is an enabler.
posted by Lu Silverstein
We recently received the latest Microsoft Surface treasure chest, which is full of small, smooth, clear plastic objects. What’s so special about the treasure? The objects are tagged with clear, invisible-to-the-naked-eye codes that unlock a unique function when placed on the Surface. Take that scratch-and-win lotto!
I was on the original Surface team (back when they called it Play Table), so I've seen similar objects for over 6 years in one form or another. We developed spaceships with plungers that fired photons at each other; a pager that vibrated when a virtual pinball ‘bumped’ into it; even visors that allowed one user to see the computer screen but no one else. One of my favorite projects included two radio controlled tanks on the Surface (one was controlled by a local user and the other by a remote user). The tanks left tracks on the screen, shot missiles, and interacted with both virtual and physical barriers like ponds, walls, and craters.
The awesome gaming scenarios are only limited by your imagination. The recent delivery of this Surface treasure chest has us worked up all over again. But is there more to Surface than games?
Here’s the challenge - even people who love the Surface concept struggle to see a business application. IdentityMine is still looking for 'da bomb' application. the design and business community to leverage Unique Object Recognition in surface computing to produce a disruptive and highly profitable user experience (UX) that works commercially.
Developers have chalked their challenge up to the limited install-base of hardware, but we don’t buy it. The applications that the original Play Table team built were innovative enough to inspire Robbie Bach and Bill Gates to invest in it year after year. We are confident that Surface has the power to be a very big deal.
With the Microsoft model, there needs to be a sponsor outside of Microsoft. A Microsoft sponsor creates the right applications and experiences to integrate into their business, along with demonstrated market demand that is in alignment with Microsoft’s target audience. This takes a significant financial investment (in the order of millions - not thousands.)
Can you imagine an application and scenario that is so compelling that someone is willing to invest millions in making this a reality? Leave your ideas in the comments - play fair and be nice (as always). We're hoping to create a dialogue about this great technology. So let 'er rip.