Microsoft's Next-Gen Surface Uses Every Pixel Like a Tiny Camera

Microsoft's Surface table computers never quite filled the lobbies of hotels and theme parks like we'd hoped, but the next-gen Surface is totally redesigned: smaller, maybe cheaper, and using a new touch technology that's pretty gnarly.

Microsoft's Next-Gen Surface Uses Every Pixel Like a Tiny Camera

Like the old Surface, it's using infrared for touch detection, but instead of cameras underneath, it's using "pixel sense" technology, so every pixel is effectively a little tiny camera. Meaning it can do crazy shit like you see above—that's a sheet of paper sitting on the Surface. Obviously, there's a lot of possibilities there, from insanely detailed touch detection to something like a living surface that's more in tune to what it's interacting with. The whole process is hardware accelerated, and it's open for developers to tap and come up with even wilder uses.

Microsoft's Next-Gen Surface Uses Every Pixel Like a Tiny Camera

The whole rig is built by Samsung, and under the hood it's now a regular Windows PC instead of custom hardware—just shoved in a four-inch thick surface. Which is, believe it or not, a more lithe package than before, which was literally table-sized. Now it can be used a kiosk, rather than just a flat table. On top is a giant sheet of Gorilla Glass, the largest touchable one yet.

It's still nothing you should expect to bring into your living room unless you're Bill Gates' cousin, but it's nice knowing that Microsoft is still trying to make it happen.