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Microsoft's original Surface reborn as Samsung SUR40

Samsung has released in Australia the SUR40: a large LED display fitted into a table and equipped with sensing technology backed by Microsoft software that enables the development of a huge range of interactive graphics-based applications.

Samsung also demonstrated a range of Australian developed applications for the product. These included an interactive display of material associated with the life or Mary McKillop, developed for the Mary McKillop museum in North Sydney by Object Consulting, and a an application for school children developed by Sydney-based nsquared that enables children to collectively 'paint' on the screen using normal paint brushes and choosing colours from a virtual palette on the screen.

Amnesia Razorfish demonstrated a virtual store that can be accessed out of hours. The virtual store is projected onto a standard screen inside the shop window and, Microsoft's Kinect is used to take input from gestures. Customers can find products, download information onto their cellphone via Wi-Fi and then go into the store when it opens

The SUR40 is an evolution of the original Microsoft Surface announced in 2007 and released in 2008. It used a rear projection display and a series of cameras to detect gestures and objects placed on the screen.

Samsung and Microsoft taken the underlying software, replaced the projection display with a flat screen and developed technology known as PixelSense that is built into the screen. The screen is backlit with infrared light, which is reflected back into sensors from anything placed on the screen. PixelSense is able to precisely detect shape and size of objects placed on the screen - according to Samsung it can, for example distinguish an iPad from any similarly sized tablet - and even to read text: a banknote laid on the screen is immediately mirrored by the display, albeit somewhat fuzzy. The system is able to register and track up to 50 points of contact at one time.

The whole unit including a Windows PC is little bigger than the 40 inch screen and only about 20 cms thick. It can be mounted in a table, on a wall or incorporated into other fixtures and furniture. It is priced at $12,975.

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