Microsoft Surface to officially surface on October 26th

Just in time for Halloween (and the launch of Windows 8), Microsoft (MSFT) has revealed that it plans on releasing its first Surface tablets on October 26th, BGR reports. Microsoft buried the Surface release date in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, where it told the SEC that “on October 26th… we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.”

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New software connects interactive displays online

Tabletop displays behave like "big iPhones," experts say.

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Manitoba in Canada have developed an open software program that allows users to connect interactive tabletop displays over the internet, so users in two different locations can interact remotely with the same display.

Touch-operated tabletop displays are becoming popular in various fields, including entertainment, business, and homeland security—and the use of such technology for educational purposes is not far behind, says Niklas Elmqvist, an assistant professor at Purdue University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who helped develop the web-enabled version of the technology.

The tabletop displays are fairly inexpensive to build, Elmqvist says.…Read More

Has Microsoft brought the future of computers to campus?

Students can scan interactive maps on Microsoft Surface.
Students can scan interactive maps on Microsoft Surface (photo courtesy of Microsoft).

A developer of educational software since the 1960s, Brown University Computer Science Professor Andries van Dam has seen education technology trends come and go, but he’s recently zeroed in on Microsoft’s interactive desktop computer as a model for the future computer.

van Dam, a co-founder of Brown’s Computer Science Department, specializes in what he calls post-WIMP computer interfaces, meaning machines that don’t use the traditional windows, icons, menus, and pointers that have come to define the modern computer.

After working on Microsoft’s Surface, a table-sized computer that recognizes hand gestures and objects and allows multiple people to use the product simultaneously, van Dam said the multimodal interface will prove valuable to higher-education researchers examining how their institutions—and the general population—can move away from the antiquated point-and-click computing experience.…Read More