November, 2009 - Microsoft PixelSense Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Surface Monster Mashup and real-world objects


    When we talk about what we’re doing here at Microsoft Surface, there are several attributes that come to mind. Sometimes for those who haven’t been exposed to a lot of touch and multi-touch, it seems like all touch is the same. Here’s a crash course to bring you up to speed.

    Monster MashupTwo Important Attributes
    One aspect to keep in mind when thinking about Surface is the massive multi-touch that is provided by the hardware. This is very important for multiple users, or together computing. When you have several people clustered around a device, the experience breaks down if you can only handle a few touches. Many multi-touch monitors only handle two touches. That may be okay for a single user scenario on a desktop or laptop PC, but Surface enables so much more collaboration, allowing over 50 touches at once. Another important aspect is objects. The vision system in Surface can see what’s going on the table-top. This allows for all manner of natural user interfaces to be employed both with everyday objects, and objects specifically crafted to work with Surface. These objects both make Surface more engaging and it can be more efficient at the same time.

    Monster Mashup and Objects @ PDC
    Today at PDC, Robert Levy and Anson Tsao talked about Microsoft Surface and Windows 7 for .NET developers. (We’ll recap in another post once the session video comes out.) During that discussion, Robert showed some video that really speaks to the amazing things you can do with Surface and objects. High resolution tags that are unique into the billions really expand the possibilities beyond simple tags. Attendees of PDC have seen this in the contact cards they’re using to digitally connect with each other on Surface.

    As promised, here are the videos shown in the session that illustrate these points. Enjoy!

    Eric (Follow us on Twitter and Facebook)

  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Surface SDK 1.0 SP1 supports XNA Game Studio 3.0 and later


    Prior to SP1 the Surface SDK supported only XNA Game Studio 2.0, which lacked support for Visual Studio 2008.  Most people don't know it, but our the Surface SDK 1.0 SP1 release added support for XNA Game Studio 3.0 and later.  And starting with version 3.0, XNA Game Studio supports Visual Studio 2008.

    Note: You can download the Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition from

    Just install XNA Game Studio 3.x before you install the Surface SDK. If you already have the SDK installed, install XNA Game Studio 3.x and then repair the Surface SDK through Programs and Features in Control Panel.  Then in Visual Studio, create a new project, and select the Surface Application (XNA Game Studio 3.0) template under Visual C# > Surface > v1.0.


  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Broad availability of the Surface SDK WE and Touch First contest winner


    Microsoft Surface has really experienced positive momentum in the past year. At last year’s PDC we had 60 Microsoft Surface partners and in just one year that number has grown to more than 250 active partners. Our customer roster has expanded since PDC 2008 to include brands such as Hard Rock International, Barclays Bank and Vodafone, who have deployed units around the world. We also have a strong presence in the Microsoft retails stores which opened this fall.

    Today at PDC 2009, we have a couple of exciting announcements.

    Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition
    We are announcing the broad availability of the Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition. Now anyone interested in developing collaborative, engaging massive multi-touch, multi-user experiences for Surface can easily access the software at no cost through The Surface hardware is needed to deploy an application, and many use the Surface Developer units to create and test their applications directly on the device. The SDK Workstation Edition lets you use a PC to develop and a PC based simulator to test applications using multiple mice and tag simulation tools. We launched resources for developers, designers and IT Professionals.

    Touch First Contest winner
    We are also pleased to announce the winner of the Touch First developer contest, with the grand prize being a Microsoft Surface Developer unit. We received nearly 40 contest entries from around the world and the judges had no easy task given all of the amazing applications submitted. Congratulations to the winner, User Interface Design GmbH in Ludwigsberg, Germany! You can see their winning application, UID Porfolio, below.

    But wait, there’s more!
    Remember, our session at PDC is tomorrow at 11:30am in Petree Hall C. You’ll want to attend this session to see what our mystery demo is all about. More to come. :)

    - Eric (Follow us on Twitter and Facebook)

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November, 2009