Have you heard of this Microsoft Surface thing? It’s a hardware/software tabular device that mimics real-world object control, like sweeping your hand across a set of documents to scatter them around the desktop, or being able to use your fingers to pick up files and move them around by hand. It’s pretty slick and calls to mind the “Minority Report” future we’ve been promised.
Up until now, it’s been used for things like commercial point-of-sale business and military tactical applications, but a team from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center have put all other uses to shame by creating their “Surfacescapes” demo, which displays their proof-of-concept work on playing Dungeons and Dragons.
It’s still really early in its development, of course, but as a promise of what it could become, the demo video is pretty interesting. The idea of being able to move your characters around physically using actual figurines interacting with the wholly virtual landscapes and monsters is heady; it’s the sort of thing that the 10 year old me would have drooled over. Hell, the 40 year old me is already thinking of the possibilities inherent in this device. And at $12,500, it’s a complete steal! Time to get back to my paper route; that thing won’t buy itself. Check out the video below.