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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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  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @09:47AM (#22079616) Homepage Journal
    ICARS -- the interactive touch-screen displays seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation and later shows predicted this as far back as what? 1986 or 1987 or something? And now it's here for real.

    I see this as ideal for collaboration. Gather a bunch of people around the big screen and they can all make changes in realtime. Very nice.
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#22079752)
    Microsoft has done surface without the table, in fact, that's how the whole tech started off.

    See here: []

    or here: []

    It's the original demonstration from where the current surface stemmed.

    A specific table isn't essential to the surface concept.
  • Re:education (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SargentDU ( 1161355 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:02AM (#22080310)
    I was in a military school in the 1970's (1979 actually) where the instructor used markers on a white board and
    pressed a button on the whiteboard and then passed out handouts with the screen drawing on it. He pressed
    another button and a wiper passed across the board and restored it to all white so he could write and draw as
    he pleased. It did not get in the way of education, in fact, it facilitated the instructor and his efforts.
  • Re:shadows (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:21AM (#22080546)
    Reading between the lines, they say the projector is "inches" away from the table. The only way I can see that working is if the projector is off to one side and has massive keystone correction. So you will get shadows from fingers that touch the surface, but not from heads or hands that are above the table by more than a few inches.
  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @01:46PM (#22082544)
    One of the interesting things about Star Trek is that the concepts frequently exceeded the ability of the set designers or the prop builders to keep up. If you get some of the coffee table books where they include some of the concept and designer notes from when say TNG, DS9, Voyager, or even Enterprise were being developed they include such items as three dimensional holographic displays, completely voice actuated systems with no buttons or control panels at all (ruled too advanced for 24th century at the time of TNG...the audience wouldn't buy it). So what actually ended up the screen was not always exactly what the producers wanted, but what they were able to do on time and in budget with the resources that they had available at the time. The user interface concepts shown in Star Trek are generally very forward looking and include many features which eventually make their way into real world systems in one form or another even if the physics and other scientific concepts are somewhat less convincingly portrayed (i.e. Star Trek physics...ugh).

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.