Microsoft Surface ….Looks Familiar?
Today Microsoft announces the release of a new multi-touch screen product/technology called Surface. It allows you to interact with a screen in a very natural way, by dragging objects on the screen around with your fingers and using various gestures, not with 1 finger, but with many fingers on both hands.
I think this technology is going change how we interact with everything from home computers, to television to retail environments.
Actually, I was thinking these things last year, when I caught the multi-touch screen demo by Jeff Han on TED.com (In August 2006):
… And again I had Jeff Han’s demo in my head when I saw the iPhone in January of 2007 on David Pogue‘s New York Times technology podcast:
First off, let me say I do not know the whole back story to this multi-touch technology, who pioneered it, what person or team invented it. I naively expected to see some props to Jeff Han in the ‘Meet the Team’ section of the Surface website.
Ha, silly Mike …that’s like seeing a shout-out to Adobe or Macromedia on the Microsoft Silverlight site for paving the way with Flash.
This entry isn’t to bash Microsoft, it’s more about education. Ignorance is dangerous, and it’s dangerous to for people to think MS created this technology themselves, inside their laboratories, without outside influence. It’s also bad to think Apple creates things without references and outside factors, like when they purchased the technology Coverflow which was integrated into iTunes 7 (and which is now touch-screen usable on the iPhone).
No one exists in a vacuum. Influence and co-opting are great tools for artists and designers when they interpret what they co-opt and turn it into something completely new.