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Microsoft demos multi-touch Sphere

updated 08:25 am EDT, Tue July 29, 2008

MS Sphere Multi Touch

Microsoft today provided a promised demo of Sphere, its next-generation multi-touch device. The device expands on the lessons learned from the Surface table and shows how future electronics could apply complex finger input to curved surfaces. In addition to altering the picture to ensure it displays properly on the ball-shaped screen, Microsoft has also switched to an infrared sensor system at the center that registers multiple fingers and palms regardless of their position on the sphere.

The demonstrator model primarily relies on modified versions of software from Surface to show the differences. Users can press a palm against the surface to send photos across to the opposite side of the sphere in the photo manipulation software, while the new hardware can also rotate freely on the horizontal axis and gives the paint program the option of creating pottery-like patterns by holding fingers against the screen while it spins.

Microsoft plans a more formal rollout today but considers Sphere a proof of concept rather than a prototype for a future product, as was the case with last year's Surface introduction. The Windows developer expects a consumer version of a Surface-related product within a few years, but hasn't said whether it will borrow any technology from Sphere to create the finished product. [via Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

By Electronista Staff


  1. pyle129

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008



    Wow, look at the amazing quality of that spherical picture display. OMG! Is it running Mojave?
    .....I wonder if the blue screen of death is just as annoying when it's spherical as it is when it's flat?

  1. rcopeh

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    And with this sphere I can do what?

    Why on God's beautiful blue and green earth would I want one of these!?

    It's bad enough having to move windows around to find what I'm looking for. Having to get up and walk behind the monitor is just taking the wazz!

  1. macjockey

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jun 2004


    beach ball

    At last, a computer I can take to the beach and play with.

  1. George3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008



    What could possibly be the real world application of this product?

    Is there a segment of the population with some sort of weird eyesight disorder that this thing would allow them to see better because of the distorted spherical image?

    Microsoft is that the best you can come up with all of your money? They say money can't buy class, apparently it can't buy imagination either.

  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Collective Insanity?

    Clearly, Microsoft has finally gone off the deep end.

    I suppose as a technology exercise it has some value, but they can't be serious about marketing such a thing.

    Talk about useless!?!?!?
    Who would want one? How would it be used?
    WHAT were they thinking?

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    remember sleeper?

    With Woody Allen and Diane keaton and the Orb"UM, COULD I GET A HIT OFF OF THAT ORB, MILO ?"

  1. pottymouth

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2003



    Did you all miss the "...proof of concept rather than a prototype for a future product" part? Of course it's stupid, but there is no real world application for this and they're not arguing that there is. It's just bling for bling's sake.

  1. cblackmo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2006



    Of course we understand the whole not-a-real-product disclaimer. But last time I checked - bling was supposed to be cool, shiny, sparkly, fancy, awe-inspiring.

    This is none of that. Just a dull dark ball with fuzzy images. My bank's touch-screen ATM machines look slicker than that.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    can it bounce or do maps?

    Wake me when they learn how to make it bounce.

    Or when it runs a spherical version of Google Maps and Google Earth. Now that would be a useful and impressive demo.

  1. gitcypher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007



    stop and think before all of the Microsoft hating comes out. It's a proof of concept, true. But look at the big picture. They've developed the hardware and software for a spherical haptics interface using infrared to (probably) register heat signatures of fingerprints, thereby triangulating them for 3D positioning. Imagine the medical, educational or military training applications of such a device.

    Man, you Mac fanboys aren't too bright.

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