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Toys Hardware Technology

Hitachi Does Microsoft Surface Without the Table 110

An anonymous reader writes "According to, who randomly stumbled into a booth at CES, Toshiba has created a Microsoft Surface-type system without the unwieldy table. 'The StarBoard system is really two technologies in one. Firstly, it features Hitachi's short-throw LCD projector. This is important, because the projector sits mere inches from the interactive surface. This means you get a huge — 50-inch, in fact — bright screen, which doesn't get blocked out by your head as you lean over the table. The image it projects is incredibly high-quality too, and there was no noticeable distortion.' The video attached to the article shows the system in action." It should be noted that the implication that leaning over the table blocks a projection from above is spurious; the Surface projects an image from below. The 'overhead' setup at CES was a camera designed to show onlookers what was taking place on the table.
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Hitachi Does Microsoft Surface Without the Table

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  • shadows (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @09:48AM (#22079630)
    This means you get a huge -- 50-inch, in fact -- bright screen, which doesn't get blocked out by your head as you lean over the table.

    No, but you do get big shadowhands when you use the touch surface. If they found a way to do this with two projectors, though, you'd probably be able to avoid even that (though alignment/convergence issues would be a bitch).
  • by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:04AM (#22079772) Homepage Journal
    fuck! now I'm gonna get modded down -1 Redundant.

    and it's going to happen to me twice, cause I posted this acknowledgement of my redundancy.

    how do i make this +1 insightful... about how in soviet russia, chuck norris welcomes his grits-eating natalie portman overlord while throwing a chair at an insensitive clot....because all your memes are belong to me?
  • by millia ( 35740 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:22AM (#22079894) Homepage
    So it's an interactive whiteboard on the table instead of the wall. Aka, activboard, smartboard, mimio.
    Well, okay, it's multi-touch instead of single touch, but it's still not *that* fancy.

    BTW, those short throw projectors use a crazy fisheye lens to avoid keystoning. From our experience with them in the aforementioned whiteboards, the picture isn't as clear as a regular projector, and it's harder than normal to get good focus. When you're very near to the board, it gets quite noticeable.
  • education (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:27AM (#22079948)
    they don't half hard on about the education market for this new projector on some of the other sites mentioning it.

    I was taught in an old fashioned British school with blackboards, chalk, uniforms and traditional methods. Is it just me who thinks that emphasis on gadgets like this will simply cost schools money and distract from the subject matter of the lesson.

    By all means get the whizzy gadgetry, but remember that its no substitute for competent teachers and a well planned curriculum.

    Of course this is /. and this comment is slightly off topic, so feel free to mode me to oblivion...

  • Who's worse ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by robertmc ( 620899 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:35AM (#22080030) Homepage
    CNET for getting the technology wrong or /. for saying it's Toshiba not Hitachi? Standards sinking ...
  • Re:shadows (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:37AM (#22080784)
    Try watching the video. They show the projector, along with exactly how far from the surface it is (about a foot, which is "inches" when compared to the throw of a normal projector).
  • by El Cabri ( 13930 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @12:05PM (#22081116) Journal
    The actual hardware is not what Microsoft is after with the Surface, but rather the software, development platform and user experience. For all of these prototypes that explore various ways of bringing the image to any big flat surface and to track the user's touch, all of them show you how to use google maps, and then their ad-hoc photo shuffling application, and that's all. None of them has yet any real useful application or complete SDK with hardware support abstracted.
  • by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @01:03PM (#22081984) Homepage
    It may be that children are paying more attention to the large TV at the front of the room (what these things really are) than they were to the teacher, but my take is that much like the 5-second cuts in current TV shows, bright flashy colors and animation isn't "improving" anyone's attention span. For non-animated, non-colored, non-audio presentation of information (you know, those things called "books" or most of the "real" content on the Internet) this is likely to have an adverse affect. As television clearly shows, it is quite possible to increase attention (what you meant to say) while shortening attention spans (what is happening with TV and things like interactive presentations in the classroom).

    I'm a former teacher and was the "technology mentor" at my school. During my time teaching one of my greatest frustrations was watching elementary school teachers use PowerPoint to deaden both the interest in computers and the interest in subject matter. A good teacher can help kids have fun learning with a chalkboard. A bad one can kill a child's interest no matter what wonderful tool you provide.

    Having the attention span of a two-year-old after three bowls of chocolate-frosted sugar bombs is what politicians really want from the electorate. War not going too well? Oh, look! Brittany sans undergarments! Socialized medicine a terrible idea? Wow! Look at the snow in the Northeast. Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982