August, 2010 - Microsoft PixelSense Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    The Settlers of Catan trades up for objects


    The last time we looked at The Settlers of Catan on Microsoft Surface was when the game was unveiled at Origins in June. Now it’s on the way to GenCon Indy this week, and the digital version of the game is looking even better. Vectorform has implemented physical dice and visors to magically hide cards.

    Why are we talking about Catan on Surface? If you are using Surface in waiting rooms, lobbies and lounges, then this is a game you’ll want to keep an eye on. Vectorform, a Microsoft Surface strategic partner, has developed the Surface version of the game in partnership with Microsoft, Catan LLC and Mayfair Games for promotion at conferences and private events leading up to a release available for purchase by Surface customers this holiday season. For more info, check out Vectorform’s press release.

    If you’re not familiar with The Settlers of Catan, it is a board game that combines economics, strategy and chance onto a game board that has players negotiating with each other socially (or robbing each other) for resources to win through accumulation of victory points. Victory points are won by building roads, settlements, building an army and the use of special cards. It’s a classic board game that has an estimated 20 million people playing regularly.

    Here’s video of a recent walkthrough I was given by the Vectorform team.

    [Video: The Settlers of Catan]

    Other entertainment articles from the blog with Vectorform:


    - Eric (follow Surface on Twitter and Facebook)

  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Live Presentation: Robot Command and Control on Surface


    This just in: Robot Invasion! That might have grabbed more attention as a headline, but trust me, the content is interesting enough. Watch the video below. In a very short time, Mark Micire over at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Robotics Lab will be defending his doctoral thesis this morning live online at 1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific. 

    To boil it down, his work has been to use the technology in Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio to aid in controlling individual and groups of robots working on emergency response in the field. This allows not only direct control of the robots through the natural user interface, but also uses the display to provide feedback to the command staff about the environment and performance of the tasks. There will also be videos with real robots too, so check out his presentation live.

    Doctoral Thesis Defense: Robotics Lab Member Mark Micire
    Monday, 23 August 2010 : 1pm Eastern / 12pm Central / 10am Pacific
    Broadcast live at:

    Teaser video:

    [Video: Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio for Multi-Robot Command and Control]

    - Eric (follow Surface on Twitter and Facebook)

  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog digital café


    IMG_1001If I say studio tour to anyone who has watched the hit television series 30 Rock, they’ll immediately recall the character Kenneth, the NBC Page. Jack McBrayer’s memorable portrayal of Kenneth is hard to forget. How many of you have been on an actual tour of the NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City? The real-life tours start at the NBC Experience Store and finish at the digital café.

    That is where you'll find Microsoft Surface, entertaining visitors with a variety of engaging applications. We recently caught up with Catherine Captain, Vice President of Marketing at the Msnbc Digital Network, to talk about what they're doing with Surface in the café.

    Why did you choose to utilize Surface? What experience were you trying to achieve?

    [Catherine Captain] The entire concept behind the digital café is to bring news to life in an immersive brand experience.  We looked for innovative ways to make that happen that have a “wow” factor while still emphasizing our brand.  Surface fit the bill perfectly with the NewsReader application featuring all of our content in text, photo and video.

    IMG_0997Can you give us a brief summary of the applications you are using and need they meet for the Café?

    [Catherine Captain] We want our guests at the café to experience on Surface via the NewsReader application.

    Have you seen any positive business results come from your Surface deployment?

    [Catherine Captain] There are literally thousands and thousands of daily visitors in the digital café at 30 Rockefeller Center.  All the tours of the NBC studios end in the café.  We recently upgraded the space and deployed the Surface units.  We know how well Surface fits with our interactive theme by the reactions we get!

    What types of reactions have you seen to customers using Surface?

    [Catherine Captain] Guests at the digital café LOVE the Surface units.  They are fascinated and engage instantly. We can rarely even see them because there are so many people crowding around to watch and touch.  I’ve even seen people take photos of the units.

    Would ever consider deploying Surface in any other locations?

    cafe_image6_grid-4x2 [Catherine Captain] We’d love to have more.  The NewsReader app is an amazing one and is really an innovative and fun way to consume (and share) news.  It’s a perfect fit.  We’d love to have a “traveling” unit that could live in ad agency lobbies for a month at a time and tour around to strategic clients.  We’d love to see them in airport lounges too.  The possibilities are endless and we’d love to partner with Surface and explore.

    - Eric (follow Surface on Twitter and Facebook)

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August, 2010