Lumino may look like generic building blocks, but it actually marks a new phase in the life of Microsoft Surface: The recognition of the third dimension. The UI implications are pretty staggering.
We've seen the Surface identify and react to physical objects before (you might remember the 2008 election coverage's Obama and McCain bobbleheads), but this is the first time we've seen it recognize an object's third dimension. These Lumino blocks can be stacked, and the Surface will behave differently to two stacked blocks.
Aside from the obvious checkers implications (KING ME!), it's very simply the next step in the evolution of Surface and other touch interfaces to recognize the third dimension. It could enable all kinds of different gestures we haven't even thought of yet. Lumino itself is kind of a tech demo at the moment, but definitely a promising one. [DesignBoom and New Scientist]