Monday, 6 October 2008
Tesco Wine Festival features Microsoft Surface
Thanks to some excellent negotiation - and design - skills from my colleague Mark Wilkinson who managed to secure a Microsoft Surface table for a couple of weeks, he's showing off a great application that engages people to try out different wines.
Microsoft Surface is a 90kg 'table computer' running Windows Vista Business edition with an up-projected screen and a series of cameras that watch for the presence of hands and other objects placed on the table. Once detected the software can react to it according to application design.
Mark has designed an application that allows him to place wine bottles on the surface with a form of barcode underneath. Microsoft Surface reads the barcode using the cameras under the screen and works out which wine has been placed on the table. The base of the bottle is then surrounded by a circle of tags which he can flip out to reveal various types of information about the bottle (country, grape, style. etc). Mark can then pull out a tag and expand it into an information box. In true Microsoft Surface style, the info box can be resized and rotated using a couple of fingers, and generally pushed around the table top and bounced off the sides!
Mark also places wine glass coasters on the table - again with a unique barcode underneath - and surface surrounds the coaster with buttons to press and - very impressive - a 'rotation of stars' to indicate what the user thought of that wine.
Usefully, the feedback is then built up in a database to uncover the most popular wines - an important objective of the Tesco Wine Festival in the first place.
This Tesco/Microsoft Surface application is very engaging, quickly taking the users beyond the 'wow factor' of the technology and engaging them with a fantastic wine tasting experience.
So congratulations to Mark and the rest of the Tesco & Microsoft teams who have helped him create an experience that is both useful and engaging.