While we found Microsoft's Surface interesting for retail contexts, it's simply too expensive (at $10,000) for the average consumer to get all that excited about. But Microsoft has an enticing alternative to the Surface called the TouchWall—a rear-projection system constructed from just "a few hundred dollars worth of readily available hardware." And their demonstration is more than a little impressive.
The software system it runs is called "Plex," which sits on top of the Vista platform. Keep in mind that the TouchWall powered by Plex isn't as robust as the Surface—its touch interface may be similar but it lacks the additional interactive elements—but man, the system looks pretty incredible for the price, even against similar virtual whiteboard competitors in the market.
This video was shot on a PC running Vista/Plex, a 4×6 foot plexiglass screen, a rear projector, a infrared camera and the three infrared lasers. Apparently the TouchWall rocked a cardboard screen just as easily as the plexiglass demo, and it has the flexibility of supporting pretty much any flat surface as large as one's projector can support it.
But for some insane reason, Microsoft does not plan on marketing the system as a product. [CrunchGear]