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]