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  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Next week: The Microsoft Surface SDK and other Tools and Resources will be available to you!


    Today I’m excited to share with you  resources that should improve our partner’s ability to design and develop Surface Applications to support the next generation device – the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface. We are going to launch a  “center of excellence” for Surface development that includes the new SDK, and a program to allow qualified partners to reap important marketing benefits.

    Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK releases next week!

    At MIX 2011, I announced that we would release our SDK this summer. Well, it’s getting warmer here in Redmond, so I am happy to share with you that the SDK will be available for public download for free from the Microsoft Download Center on July 12th. I explained the focus and features of the Surface 2.0 SDK in my MIX presentation. If you have not already seen it, I have embedded it at the end of this post.

    This time I would like to share with you some of my favorite features.

    First of all, our SDK now runs on the latest technologies: WPF 4.0, XNA 4.0, Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit). Enough said. :-)

    Another of my favorite features is that now you can target both Microsoft Surface Hardware and Windows 7 Touch enabled PCs with a single SDK. In our team we informally called this feature “Write once - touch anywhere”.  That means that the same binary can be used in both types of hardware.

    The Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK allows you to target Microsoft Surface
    Hardware  as well as Windows 7 touch enabled PCs.

    Related to that, is the ability to actually query the hardware capabilities of the device. We understand that the best experience for the user occurs when you write an application that takes into consideration the context in which the application is being used. That includes the type of hardware as well as the position of the hardware.

    So we added a few APIs for you to query the capabilities of the hardware (maximum number of touches recognized by the hardware, whether the hardware can actually distinguish touches caused by fingers versus other
    touches, tag recognition support, tilt support, etc.)

    That means that at runtime you application can adapt dynamically to the capabilities and state of the hardware. In the snippet below, I show how you can query the tilt angle of the Surface unit to provide a different experience. The rest of the hardware capabilities are included in the Interactive Surface Device class.

    if (InteractiveSurface.PrimarySurfaceDevice.Tilt == Tilt.Horizontal)
        // Enable 360 degree UI.
        // Use more traditional layout

    Learn more about adapting your application to the environment here.

    You can even simulate different types of hardware capabilities using our new Microsoft Surface Input Simulator.

    The Settings Dialog in the Input Simulator allow you to simulate different types of hardware

    For more information on our new Input Simulator, check out my earlier post.

    Another area of investment that I should mention here is our new visual style. It is consistent with other Microsoft Products such as Zune and Windows Phone. The style is clean, simple yet elegant. Our goal was to create a visual style that would put Content first, a visual style that functional and was not distracting. All of our controls styles have been updated accordingly.

    New visual styles used in the Bing for Microsoft Surface Application

    One of the controls that we modified both in terms of visual style and interaction style is our ElementMenu control. We noticed that different people would interact with it using different types of gestures. So our ElementMenu now reacts to both dragging gestures as well as tapping gestures. Our ControlsBox sample shows you how to use the menu. Additionally, it includes 49 sample icons that you can use in your applications.

     Updated ElementMenu Control

    We had an early adopter program that enabled some of our partners to try the SDK for a few months already. I want to take this opportunity to share that we really appreciate their feedback. Their feedback was crucial to ensure we were investing in the most important areas, and it was also a driving force that kept the quality of the SDK bits high throughout the different development milestones. A HUGE THANKS to everyone that participated in our early adoption programs!

    Introducing the Microsoft Surface Design and Development Center on MSDN
    The Microsoft Surface Design and Development Center provides access to the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK, online training, hands on labs, design and interaction guidelines, application certification, documentation, whitepapers, developer forums and other resources. The Design and Development Center focuses on helping people get jumpstarted with developing amazing new vision based touch applications that people can share at the same time.

    The online training is a course that enables people to learn about planning, designing, developing, testing, and deploying Microsoft Surface 2.0 applications for use on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface and Windows
    7 touch PCs. People proceed through the course at their own pace, or jump directly to the topics which they need. Hands on labs provide developers and designers with a guided opportunity to start building applications and get familiarized with the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK. Design and interaction guidelines, certification, and SDK documentation help outline the best practices for making great touch applications that draw on the power of vision input and object interaction. The developer forums are a place that the Surface development community can share information, get help and support.

    The Creation of the Microsoft Surface Premier Partner Program
    From July 12, we will be highlighting our Surface partners by bringing in PinPoint search results from Microsoft’s Partner Network. Partners that have profiled their application or services against the  Surface Computing product will automatically flow through to the partner listing based on PinPoints ranking.

    If you want to differentiate your organization, we will be highlighting Surface partners that have proven development and design expertise as well as a track record of excellent wins on the platform with customers. These partners will be given the “Premier Partner” designation and will be highlighted up front on as the partners that have a proven track record with Surface. Any partner is eligible to apply and the benefit of Premier Partner will run for 12 months from the time of approval. You’ll find more details on next week.

    So there you have it, some great news for Surface partners. And if you happen to be attending the Worldwide Partner Conference next week in Los Angeles stop on by the Surface booth (#104) and chat with the team about the SDK, partner benefits and get hands on with the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface. Enjoy!

    Luis Cabrera-Cordón
    Platform Program Manager – Microsoft Surface

    P.S. If you are porting a Surface v1 application, check out the Microsoft Surface Migration PowerToy. We will be posting it to Code Gallery on July 12 as well. It is open source in case you want to tweak it for your needs.


  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Viva Las Virtual Vegas!!!

    Eric and Kyle at the Rio in Las Vegas

    Hello from Vegas! The Surface and Harrah's teams have been burning the midnight oil for the past few days getting everything set for our next public deployment.


    Today, Harrah’s will become our second partner to deploy Surface. They will have six Surface units operating in the iBar, located inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. 


    Harrah’s will deploy a suite of their own customized applications and be the first to install Microsoft Surface in an entertainment venue, providing guests with uniquely personalized and engaging social experiences.  Their most ambitious application is “Flirt” which uses strategically placed video cameras to create an exciting new way to initiate conversation, flirt and meet new people from one Surface to another. Additional applications include a series of play-for-fun interactive games like bowling, a challenging musical memory game, and multi-player pinball with a twist. There's even a cool mixologist app that lets you design and order your own drinks.


    In addition to the applications that Harrah's created, they are also using the photos and concierge apps that the Surface team built. Harrah's has taken those apps and customized them to the Rio/Las Vegas environment with photos, video, maps and attractions info to help guests plan their stay all within the comfort of the iBar.


    If you can't make it to Vegas then check out the video we shot. Last week we came into the iBar to capture the unique experience that Harrah's is offering. It really shows off their "Flirt" application nicely...only in Vegas.


    This is an exciting next step in the Harrah’s relationship. Just a little over a year ago we announced our partnership with Harrah’s at D, since then they've been busy thinking about Surface, where it will go (Harrah's has a ton of great properties to chose from) and then creating the actual applications themselves. It's fun to see it all come together.


    So deployment #2 is done...up next #3...stay tuned...more goodness ahead.


    Cheers from Vegas (I'm not finding fortune on Wheel of Fortune slots right now...ugh),

    K Robert Warnick


    Video: Microsoft Surface at the Rio in Las Vegas
  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Build-A-Bear Workshop newly imagined with Samsung SUR40


    Build-A-Bear Workshop opens its first newly designed store at West County Center in St. Louis. The store is one of six that the company will open this year in select markets across the United States. The new store concept uses the Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense to enhance the hands-on bear making process and enable new interactive features that are central to how kids play today. The updated store enables guests of all ages to personalize the bear making process and offers them a different experience each return visit.

    “Build-A-Bear Workshop invented experiential mall-based retailing 15 years ago and has been the leader in providing interactive experiences for kids of all ages,” says Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder and Chief Executive Bear. Build-A-Bear worked closely with developer Infusion to ensure that guests visiting the new store see noticeable changes building on the signature stuffed animal making experience including:

    The Love Me Station enables guests to customize their furry friends with special personality attributes displayed as emoticons on the Samsung SUR40. Guests can add unique traits — like cuddly, brave, silly and smart — to their red satin hearts, which are inserted inside their furry friends during the Stuff Me process.

    Love Me Station — Build-A-Bear Workshop

    The Fluff Me Station enables guests to interact with their new furry friends at a “water rippling and splashing” digital bath tub. Microsoft PixelSense technology magically recognizes the items as they are placed on it and reacts with sensory effects such as virtual bubbles that appear when play soap is placed on the “water surface.”

    Fluff Me Station — Build-A-Bear Workshop

    The Name Me Station is where guests use a viewfinder or “bear-o-scope” to reveal the special attributes and personality added to the animal throughout the process. Guests create a personalized one-of-a-kind birth certificate that now includes a photo of their new furry friend.

    Name Me Station — Build-A-Bear Workshop

    “Since our inception, over 100 million stuffed animals have been made in our stores. With this new store design, we have combined the love of a teddy bear with the best of digital technology. We look forward to continuing our leadership in the interactive retail space," says Clark.

    New Build-A-Bear Workshop storefront

    There are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America. Build-A-Bear Workshop is opening other new concept stores in the following premiere shopping centers throughout the United States:

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