Techcrunch had a great article about Microsoft’s new gizmo, the TouchWall. Basically, it is a cheap version of the Surface PC, meaning you could get some of the “touch” functionalities without the price tag of the Surface. In details, however, they are two completely different products. The Surface PC is a multi-touch and vision system that uses cameras to sense what is on the table, where it is and what it is doing. It can determine, for example, if a cell phone is on the table and then interact with the phone in a variety of ways, such as pulling photos off of it.
The TouchWall is a much simpler system which consists of three infrared lasers that scan a surface. A camera notes when something breaks through the laser line and feeds that information back to the Plex software. The machine runs Windows Vista and another software which understands the “touch” commands and movements, called Plex.
There are no plans to mass produce or commercialize this product just yet, but we can already see the applications and with a reduced price tag, this could be interesting. We’ll have to keep on following this one to see if it will become available at some point.
See the TouchWall in action in the following video: