updated 03:50 pm EDT, Thu July 24, 2008
MS Surface Sphere Soon
Microsoft will demonstrate its previously only hinted-at spherical Surface display next week, the company has inadvertently revealed through its own floor map for its Research group's DemoFest event. Booth 110 at the show is listed as offering a "multi-touch spherical display" that resembles a previously described variant on the company's Surface touch computer, which for now is only available as a table-sized device for businesses such as AT&T stores and casinos.
The invention is likely to help demonstrate the advancements made in multi-touch input at Microsoft since Surface was first unveiled last year. The technology at the time required a flat display and relied on cameras to recognize contact, limiting the control options for the touchscreen. It's unknown whether a spherical version would still require cameras, though the format will demonstrate Microsoft's ability to create curved touchscreen surfaces.
Such a development also contributes to the possibility of introducing a home user-oriented Surface device, which Microsoft has said should appear with the next few years and was accelerated when Microsoft received an unexpectedly large number of requests for a home version from users. Present-day Surface tables cost at least $5,000 each and are often mated to company-specific software. [via ZDNet]