The New Microsoft Surface
Many have been talking about the future of computing being something you can easily touch. Tom Cruise did it in Minority Report. There's been demos of people playing Warcraft or manipulating maps and stuff only using very intuitive commands via their fingers. Heck, even Apple has gotten on to it by allow you to do some of these features on your iPhone with that "pinching" thing.
From the video demos on their website, it looks like Microsoft has done a good job of implementing this stuff. They call it Microsoft Surface, and they say it will be available for purchase in late 2007. The Surface is a 30-inch LCD display embedded in a table-like device. It looks like there's no Start buttons and such, just a table to interact with. The videos show people moving items around with just the flick of a finger and resizing them by pulling or pushing two corners at a time. It shows people putting their camera or cell phone on the table and all their photos laying out below the camera. Someone else can drag those photos onto their camera to copy them. The experience looks very intuitive and, well, it could be "the wave of the future."
It looks pretty cool, but allow me to be a bit skeptical for right now. Sometimes Microsoft announces products at this stage and they don't really go anywhere. I get the impression that if you're going to see them anywhere this winter, it's going to be at the W or other such trendy, expensive places. But, hey, it's about time we got some better ideas than just using a mouse and keyboard to control our computers!
You can watch Bill Gates show off the Surface on the Today Show to see more cool functionality.