Archive for the ‘Surface’ Category
Microsoft had planned to only ship one application on the new Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft PixelSense platform, and they came to Stimulant to help design and develop it. Stimulant collaborated with the Microsoft Surface team to conceive and implement exciting new ways to let multiple people collaboratively search for images and locations, while intuitive clustering algorithms make maintaining context easy.
Tagged objects can store searches for frequent and easy execution, and Microsoft Tag lets users take media, business info and directions with them on their personal device.
Because we’re always intrigued by opportunities to visualize real-time data in engaging ways, Microsoft’s Surface team got our attention when they asked us to create an updated version of Event Live, their event-based social media visualizer. Our fully redesigned and rebranded Social Stream application aggregates live Tweets, images from Flickr, and news stories into a multi-directional animated “stream,” creating a real-time display of relevant social content. Multiple users can simultaneously read, rotate, and explore all of the live data on the selected topics, and can even “scrub” the stream itself backwards and forwards.
One exciting feature showcased in Live Stream is the addition of Microsoft Tags. Users can flip over any item in the stream to reveal a Microsoft Tag. When photographed with a mobile device running a tag recognition application, the tag is translated into a hyperlink that immediately takes the user to that URL in their mobile browser. It’s a quick and easy way to snapshot content that you want to save for later.
As with most of Stimulant’s projects, Social Stream has a complexity far beyond its simple end-user interface. A hidden administrative control panel can be launched by placing any object on Surface with a specific Surface byte tag attached to it. This control panel then gives an administrator the ability to adjust volume, stream speed and direction, diagnose connectivity, and ban specific topics or users from the stream (which then updates in real-time). The administrator can also enable a profanity filter and determine whether the stream populates chronologically or randomly. These advanced options are all available without having to interrupt the experience or leave the application.
Social Stream premiered at Worldwide Partner Conference where visitors to the Microsoft booth were able to watch the live chatter about the conference float by in real-time on Microsoft Surface. Participants enjoyed the new and engaging multi-user experience that highlighted immediately relevant content. Stimulant also enjoyed our first chance to create an application using Microsoft’s bold, typography-oriented Metro design language on Surface.
Best of all, the Social Stream source code is available on github. Re-skinning the interface and customizing the branding elements are simple tasks, and adjusting the feed items merely requires basic editing. Stimulant is proud to have this code become publicly available, and we look forward to the creative ways in which this application will be repurposed.
Stimulant is proud to have been named a Surface Premier Partner by Microsoft! We’ve been working with Surface since the release of v1, showcased the first integration between the iPhone and Microsoft Surface, developed the first application to be Certified for Microsoft Surface (and the first third-party freeware app for Surface), and are excited to continue our commitment to the platform. We’re ready to roll with Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface — in fact, we collaborated with Microsoft to design and develop Bing for Microsoft Surface, which ships pre-installed on all Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface units, as well as Social Stream for Microsoft Surface.
Here’s to seeing what the future brings with the radical evolution of this one-of-a-kind platform!
Stimulant, in partnership with Trapeze, helped WIND Mobile extend their core brand philosophy of “The Power of Conversation” to the in-store experience with a Microsoft Surface-based assisted sales application. Surface lives in the heart of the store in most WIND Mobile retail locations, providing delightfully simple access to key product information and facilitating two-way conversation between employees and customers.
As a consultative tool, the Surface table allows customers to compare devices and plans side-by-side, helping to identify the options that work best for them. Information is made available quickly, clearly and in one layer of engagement. Stimulant worked closely with Trapeze to bring the WIND Mobile brand alive on Microsoft Surface, leveraging custom sound design, playful 2D physics and object recognition, all carefully blended into a seamless and engaging experience. The application leverages Stimulant’s proprietary product comparison engine, as well as a custom content management system to enable easy updating across all stores. Like all of our projects, extra care was taken to ensure scalability and stability for years to come.
Subsequent versions of the application will focus on the customization of services and devices directly from Surface.
Kodak, a stalwart exhibitor at the annual Print tradeshow, did something different in 2009. They bucked the industry practice of bringing truly massive commercial printing presses to the show. Instead decided to attract attendee interest with final printed samples, and use a nearly all-digital environment to tell the story of the Kodak technology used to bring these printed materials to life.
Working with Kodak’s marketing firm Partners + Napier, exhibit design firm Mirrorshow, and our old friends Obscura Digital, Stimulant created software for Microsoft Surface that allowed trade show attendees to simply pick up a printed sample or object, place it on Surface, and have Surface reveal details on that object’s printing methods and what Kodak products were used in its manufacture. We created a byte tag recognition system that’s more robust than is typical, so that even large objects could be only partially placed on Surface but still be recognized by the system. Traditional “attract modes” were replaced with local “attract messages” to entice attendees to use the table even when another user was already doing so, leveraging the inherent multi-user capabilities of Surface. Our team also externalized all content so that the client could manage all content themselves, even after the trade show doors opened.
Hundreds of trade show attendees and booth personnel used six Surface units in the Kodak booth without a hiccup during the entire show. Sales personnel found it invaluable to have such information at their fingertips without requiring printed collateral, and trade show attendees could follow along or even acquire knowledge on their own, given the utter simplicity of Stimulant’s nearly-invisible interface, based on their own interests and needs.
We’ve got sessions up for a vote at this years MIX11 conference, centered around our recent work on applications for the new version of Microsoft Surface and for Windows Phone 7. Hope to see you there this year!
The Metro design language has made a huge splash in the device space, but it?s not just for mobile any more. Microsoft Surface v2 has gone Metro, and this shift requires a thoughtful reconsideration of how to apply Metro thinking in a large-format NUI context. This talk will explore the tenets of Metro and how they translate, or don?t, to this unique form factor. It will also discuss how these design guidelines can be applied in other contexts, like the Web, to improve usability and create elegant, engaging experiences on all devices.
Surface v2 ushers in a new era of surface computing, with 1080p resolution, a larger screen, and a significantly more compact form factor. With great power comes great responsibility, however. This talk will dive deep into the implications of these improvements, and explain how both designers and developers need to change the way they think about this unique device. From interaction design to code samples to performance optimization, we?ll look at two real-world apps, Bing for Microsoft Surface and Social Stream for Microsoft Surface, and discuss updated best practices for NUI design and development on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface.
The Microsoft Surface MVPs present: Natural User Interfaces, Today and Tomorrow; an interactive discussion and demonstration
The Natural User Interface (NUI) is a hot topic that generates a lot of excitement, but there are only a handful of companies doing real innovation with NUIs and most of the practical experience in the NUI style of design and development is limited to a small number of experts. The Microsoft Surface MVPs are a subset of these experts that have extensive real-world experience with Microsoft Surface and other NUI devices.This session is a panel featuring the Microsoft Surface MVPs and an unfiltered discussion with each other and the audience about the state of the art in NUI design and development. We will share our experiences and ideas, discuss what we think NUI will look like in the near future, and back up our statements with cutting-edge demonstrations prepared by the panelists involving combinations of Microsoft Surface 2.0, Kinect, and Windows Phone 7.
TouchTones (formerly ToneGrid) is a multi-user collaborative music maker that doesn’t require any musical knowledge in order to make something beautiful. Just tap the colored spheres to get them started and change the melody in real time! TouchTones has a range of innovative features:
- TouchTones features four sounds and a four-octave “grid,” which acts like a keyboard.
- Up to four people can use TouchTones at once.
- Symmetrical controls on all sides let any user control any sound.
- Holding down a colored button while tapping an arrow with another lets the user play the grid like an instrument. You can even play chords!
- Volume control, reset button, and integrated help video makes learning and playing a snap.
- No written instructions are needed to learn how to use TouchTones!
TouchTones is being made available for free for any Microsoft Surface running Service Pack 1 or higher. If you’re interested in having Stimulant visually reskin the application, replace the stock sounds with something custom, or want additional features, just ask. TouchTones is designed to be fully customized to meet your specific branding goals. Feel free to contact us for any general inquiries regarding TouchTones.
To learn more about TouchTones, or to download the installer, visit Stimulant’s Product Page.
Stimulant, a leader in the design and development of custom multi-touch and multi-user software and a Microsoft Surface strategic partner, proudly collaborated with Microsoft Corp. to develop Bing for Microsoft Surface and Social Stream for Microsoft Surface. These applications take full advantage of the latest iteration of Microsoft Surface, Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, which was unveiled at 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 5, 2011.
Both applications enable multiple people to simultaneously interact with rich content using both physical objects and fingers. Bing for Samsung SUR40 marries a rich natural user interface with the power of Bing, giving users the ability to search the Internet for images, browse locations on a map and get directions, and find nearby businesses and attractions. Social Stream for Samsung SUR40 lets Microsoft Surface owners create customized Twitter, Flickr and RSS-based news feed searches, and enables multiple users to interact with an animated stream of real-time feed items. Both applications use Microsoft Tag technology to let users take content with them on their mobile device.
Here are some recently released videos of Surface v2 from CES, featuring some footage of Bing in action:
“We’re thrilled to see the progression of Microsoft Surface, and are excited to once again collaborate with Microsoft to bring amazing multi-user experiences to life,” said Stimulant president, Darren David. “With greater resolution, a more compact form factor, wider availability and a lower price, Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface continues to energize our efforts to create intuitive and magical digital experiences for a wide variety of customers.”
Stimulant has been a premier provider of applications for Microsoft Surface since the platform’s first release. With over 3 years of experience in the next-generation user interface field, Stimulant is uniquely positioned to build rich multi-user applications for all industry verticals.
We’re pleased to announce (albeit somewhat belatedly) that Stimulant has achieved the highest level of partnership with Microsoft Surface, having been promoted to the strategic partner level. This honor, conveyed upon only the most committed and innovative companies, is the culmination of over three years of working with the platform. We have a long history of collaboration with the Surface team, and have also taken a design leadership role, speaking regularly about the new scenarios and interactions enabled by Surface. Our TouchTones application was the first third-party freeware application for Surface and the first application to be Certified for Microsoft Surface, and our recent creations have been leveraged by global brands and organizations. Among all agencies at this level, Stimulant is the first agency to be 100% focused on multi-touch, multi-user and Natural User Interface development. We’re honored to be recognized for our commitment and contribution to the platform, and look forward to continuing down the path of innovation.
Stimulant followed up the excellent reception of the Microsoft Local Impact Map Silverlight with a special edition for Microsoft Surface. Drawing on our previous experience with many Surface projects, we saw incredible value in presenting this application in a new medium.
We knew that the Local Impact Map would be used to facilitate conversations about corporate social responsibility between Microsoft and representatives of governments and NGOs. How could we make the map even more collaborative, emotionally engaging, and aid in forming strong conversations around corporate citizenship?
The challenge called out for a fresh approach: build a version of the Local Impact Map for Microsoft Surface. In this way, Microsoft representatives can kick off interactions with their government and NGO contacts, letting them learn how to use the application simply by watching, and then let them explore the map as the conversation continues. All the while, the participants are literally able to look each other in the eye, and neither is in exclusive control of the device, the software, or the content. This makes for an emotionally equitable experience for all concerned. This human emotional connection and transparent communication style is exactly what Microsoft wanted to convey.
The Local Impact Map: Surface Edition shares the same hand-made look and feel as the online application, and is fed by the exact same data sources. We completely refactored the interface to make the Local Impact Map appropriate for Surface, and this laid the groundwork for further innovation.
We chose the metaphor of a lens as the cornerstone of our multi-user interface strategy. Onscreen lenses allow for viewing in greater detail. Each lens can even display different styles of data visualization from other lenses, rather than repainting the entire screen with a data visualization that only one user might be interested in. This also allows local content to be freely oriented towards any user. Global filters allow users to hone in on the citizenship topics that matter most to their constituents and communities. Rich support for photography and videos also helps put faces on those helped by Microsoft’s charitable efforts worldwide.
The Microsoft Local Impact Map: Surface Edition is rolled out on Surface units in Microsoft facilities all over the globe.
Creating interaction beyond the computer.
From desktop to device, multi-touch to gestural and portable to permanent, Stimulant crafts magical experiences for computers that don't look like computers.