Computing That Serves

Surface Computing and Beyond


Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 11:00am


Andy Wilson
Senior Researcher
Microsoft Research

What started as a modest incubation effort has grown into the Surface Computing group at Microsoft. Surface, its first product, is but one example of an exciting new category of form factors and user experiences. In this talk I would like to present a number of research projects that share the Surface Computing vision but push in different directions. For example, PlayAnywhere is a compact tabletop projection-vision system which explores a number of new interactions on everyday surfaces, while TouchLight combines a transparent projection screen material with computer vision techniques, and FourBySix allows multiple designers to gather around a large-format Surface. We've even brought Surface technology to spherical displays and dome projection displays. In addition to new form factors, we are also examining ways to structure Surface interactions that go beyond traditional point cursor models. For example, Surface input may be embedded in a gaming physics simulation to obtain realistic manipulations based on friction and collisions. Finally, I will describe some recent work applying newly developed range-sensing cameras to enable new interactions above the surface. All of these new systems have the potential of changing the way we relate to computing, but they also pose serious challenges because they are so different from today's desktop computing systems.


Andy Wilson is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. There he has been applying sensing technologies to enable new styles of human-computer interaction. His interests include gesture-based interfaces, computer vision, inertial sensing, display technologies and machine learning. In 2002 he helped found the Surface Computing group at Microsoft. Before joining Microsoft, Andy obtained his BA at Cornell University in 1993, and PhD at the MIT Media Laboratory in 2000. Publications and videos of his work are located at .