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Microsoft TouchWall

Alex Christie

15 May 2008

Deciding on what to put on that empty white wall in the office or boardroom? How about a painting, maybe something more high tech? How about a Digital Photo frame? No? Then how about turning that simple old white wall into a multi-touch interactive display? Sounds to good to be true, but yesterday Bill Gates demonstrated the new technology at the Microsoft CEO Summit in Redmond.

The new technology, known as TouchWall, refers to the touch screen hardware setup that will allow you to turn your wall into a user interface. The necessary software, known as Plex, is already built into the standard version of Vista.

At first, the technology might be confused with Microsoft Surface, which was introduced in 2007, but Microsoft made it clear that these two technologies are very different.

TouchWall is a fundamentally simpler mechanical system than Surface and while Microsoft Surface will costs close to £5,200, TouchWall will only cost you a couple of hundred Pounds.

TouchWall consists mainly out of three infrared lasers that scan the display surface. As soon as something breaks through the laser line, the information is captured by a camera which in turn feeds back the information to Plex.

The system allows for usual browsing, scrolling, basically everything you would do with a mouse pointer.

Only bad news though, Microsoft says it’s only a demo and that they don’t have any current plans to produce the hardware, so how about putting that painting back on the wall.



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