updated 05:00 pm EDT, Thu October 30, 2008
SecondLight for MS Surface
At the currently ongoing PDC show in LA, Microsoft is holding demonstrations of its Surface PC for members of the industry and developers. At the same time, Microsoft showed off a notable new version of the Surface PC developed by the software giant's engineers from Cambridge, England. Called SecondLight, it allows the table to project different images than those projected on its screen on a translucent surface such as tracing paper held above the surface. The images are projected through the table itself, with Microsoft describing the technology as a magic lens.
As an example, SecondLight would allow a satellite image of a map to be shown on the physical screen, while a piece of translucent paper held above the surface could show the digital image of the same map, complete with street names, just like on Google Maps or Mapquest. The technology relies on projecting two different images from underneath the table, the LCD surface of which switches quickly between frosted and transparent states when an electrical current is passed through it. The speed of the switching makes both images appear solid, when in fact the screen is only fully on half the time.
What's more, an infrared camera allows users to perform the same multitouch functions as the main display. Video can also be displayed on the secondary, projected display.
Microsoft has not revealed when the SecondLight technology would be available for a commercial release, though the positive response to it by the PDC attendees should encourage it. [via PCPro]