Surface, the ultimate multi-touch table, is one of the most incredibly cool projects that Microsoft has been working on for the last few years, and they've just introduced a brand new version that's not only significantly slimmer, it's smarter too.
The original Surface tables were really more like boxes than tables. They had a bunch of cameras and projectors inside, so they had to be bulky. This sexy new version of Surface, on display at Microsoft's CES keynote, is an actual table with a four-inch thick top containing all of the electronics.
Somehow, this version of Surface is able to use every single pixel in its display as a tiny camera of sorts, making incredibly detailed sensing possible. Even though Surface acts like touch-sensing hardware, it's not sensing physical contact at all, it's actually just seeing you put your fingers on the table and tracking them visually. And since it can see, it's also capable of scanning the text on a piece of paper, and it can even spot objects being held up above it.
The other big news about Surface mentioned briefly in the keynote was that this new version is somehow cheaper than the old one, but seeing as the old one started out at around $10,000, 'somehow cheaper' is going to need to mean like 95% off before most people can afford to put one of these things in their dining room.