At TechEd Pre-Day today I was there when our team from Amnesia rolled out 1 of their 2 (and the only 2) in Australia.Thanks to Brady O'Halloran (Amnesia) and Tatham Oddie (Readify) for walking me through the standard and customised demo respectively.

Tech Ed Preday 003

Tatham developed a pretty snazzy application in 2 days using the SDK - it would read delegate TechEd Badges and open out all the session info for a time-slot.

Out of the box the Surface looks like Vista - In fact it is Vista. No, however you can't multi-touch Vista - not yet at least. The multi-touch comes from a separate application specially built to host and extend the WPF layer that is "surface". At the foot of the Surface is a number of connections enabling wired connections, card reading and speaker and video inputs and outputs. Here is a snapshot of the Surface being setup:

Tech Ed Preday 001 

Michael Kordahi was as keen as me in wanting to see the product in action. He and DPE buddy Shane Morris were busily creating some nice video blogs. Here Michael shot sporting the Lab Coats for the Showcase area:

Tech Ed Preday 007

Initial thoughts:

  1. Very intuitive - has the "wow" effect
  2. Multi touch works very well and smooth
  3. Lots more intelligence built in that I thought (it is able to count fingers objects and co-ordinates as objects)
  4. Nice size but not as big as you would like - probably good for at most 4 people using it
  5. Can pickup some background spotlights and treat them as interaction (TechEd is not necessarily the ideal environment)