September 30, 2001
1:47 PM   Subscribe

The next step in paperless offices? "Augmented Surfaces" is a research project at Sony. They've developed continuous workspaces that use wall and table surfaces as an extension of the computer desktop. Amazing stuff, though I can't think of a use for it besides exchanging info during meetings.
posted by mathowie (18 comments total)
What's the name of that game where a puck sits on a cushion of air on a table and you use other pucks with handles to knock it back and forward almost without friction? Instead of playing Solitaire whilst you should be working in your cubicle, use this technology play this in meetings with your cow-orkers! You could have four or five a side on big board room tables. It's team building.
posted by vbfg at 2:40 PM on September 30, 2001

A little off topic but there is a link at the bottom of the Augmented Surfaces page which goes to a page about The Ultimate Baseball Watching Station minus beer...
posted by the_ill_gino at 2:43 PM on September 30, 2001

You're thinking of Air Hockey

Or if you a a gamer, this could be the ultimate gaming space. Unreal Tournament would be incredible.
posted by Benway at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2001

He's also got a brilliant archiving strategy, though there are still some technological issues.

Come along, Sherman.
posted by chino at 2:57 PM on September 30, 2001

Almost as cool as the Ultimate Cuuuubicle! *echo*
posted by skallas at 3:43 PM on September 30, 2001

Sony aren't the only folks working on this. I saw an interesting demonstration at an office furniture show here in Chicago (NeoCon at the Mart), but I can't recall which company it was - might have been Haworth.

At any rate, they had integrated the computer into the desktop itself - essentially, there was not "monitor" in the traditional sense.

Obviously, they didn't have a working prototype, and instead relied on projected images. They did, however, have a beta version of the software working on a touch screen.

It was most cool, and seems like the next logical step in the advancement of computing. Anyone know of any "surfaces" that would allow these sorts of displays? It makes me think about digital ink technology.
posted by aladfar at 3:44 PM on September 30, 2001

I would have to keep my desk cleaned off. Better yet, maybe this system would organize my mess for me! There might be hope for us IT guys yet...
posted by hockeyman at 4:07 PM on September 30, 2001

I'm curious about the linking-to-real-objects part of the system, the videotape example. Are the cameras identifying and remembering the look of the tape, so that if it was taken out of the room and back in, the system would remember the links?
posted by D at 4:36 PM on September 30, 2001

sounds like the TV walls in bradbury's fahrenheit 451. let's hope the entertainment isn't as vacuous.
posted by moz at 5:07 PM on September 30, 2001

Purely useless in an office, except as "my toys are better than your toys," but I can't WAIT to see what artists can do with it!
posted by realjanetkagan at 5:37 PM on September 30, 2001

dude. porn.
posted by sugarfish at 5:37 PM on September 30, 2001

I do not need this. I can't clear off my desk, now I have to clear off my walls, too.
posted by sierray at 5:46 PM on September 30, 2001

Bruce Tognazzini, when he was at Sun, developed a "video prototype" for a similar technology, Starfire. It was all visionary stuff--they didn't build the tech, just did some conceptual design.
posted by peterme at 5:46 PM on September 30, 2001

At my last job we were treated to some demos of some similar technology from the MIT Media Lab -- once again, it felt like technology looking for a solution.
posted by briank at 5:53 PM on September 30, 2001

Please use these images in your articles, presentation/lecture slides, with a copyright notice such as "Copyright(C) 1998-1999, Sony Computer Science Laboratories",

You have to love that "such as"!
Now if everybody was that polite we wouldn't need paper in the first place...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:41 PM on September 30, 2001

They need to add a scanner into the table so if someone does come to the meeting with a piece of paper they can just scan it on the table to share with more waiting for someone to run off to the copier for copies.
posted by ArkIlloid at 8:37 PM on September 30, 2001

<off topic>

from the Air Hockey News link:

"Waive your flag!"

</off topic>
posted by Dick Paris at 10:49 PM on September 30, 2001

> They need to add a scanner into the table

It would also be useful at office parties.
posted by pracowity at 12:45 AM on October 1, 2001

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