Microsoft shows off new TouchWall interface

Vertical TouchWall device gives glimpse of future of interactive displays

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By  Mark Sutton Published  May 19, 2008

Bill Gates has demonstrated the latest Microsoft ‘tough' interface prototype, a vertical display called the TouchWall.

The TouchWall recognizes gestures through lasers mounted around the display, and functions like an interactive whiteboard.

Speaking at the Microsoft CEO Summit in Redmond last week, Gates said that the devices is intended for use in the boardroom or classroom. Microsoft aims believes that the cost of the hardware can be brought down, and the functionality of the software improved so that interactive surfaces become common technology.

"Our view is that all the surfaces, horizontal surfaces, vertical surfaces, will eventually have an inexpensive screen display capability, and software that sees what you're doing there, so it's completely interactive," Gates said. "When I say everywhere, I mean the individual's office, I mean the home, the living room, all of those things. The cost of the hardware is not that great, and the quality of the software is improving substantially."

During his keynote speech, Gates also revealed that Microsoft has already sold a number of its Surface devices, the coffee table-style horizontal interactive screens. Among initial customers is US telco AT&T, which is using Surface in its phone shops as an interactive sales counter.

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