Microsoft Surface at SolidWorks World 2010

The Research Group from DS SolidWorks showed a number of projects at the recent SolidWorks World 2010 conference. The projects were designed to explore the capabilities of the Microsoft Surface device and provided “proof of concepts”. They were implemented by 2 interns, Robbie Coomber and Rob Desmond who had just completed the 2nd year of a Computer Science Degree course at Cambridge University and worked at the SolidWorks office in Cambridge (UK) during the Summer of 2009.

The Microsoft Surface is a multi-touch device that incorporates an Intel Core 2 Duo cpu, 2Gb of memory and a 250Gb SATA hard drive.

The device consists of a 30 inch display mounted horizontally on a coffee table sized base unit. The display is generated using a projector mounted in the base and gives a resolution of 1024×768.

Hand gestures and objects placed on the surface are detected using a camera based vision system with LED Infrared illumination and image recognition software. The system is running Windows Vista and is optimised for up to 52 simultaneous contacts.

Full details about the Microsoft Surface can be found on the Microsoft website at:

The projects explored a number of concepts including:

  • The recognition of objects placed on the surface
  • The interaction of multiple users and multiple touches/contacts
  • SolidWorks and multi-touch
  • Various user interface concepts including using both hands
  • Interaction with the surface using physical objects

The resultant applications, developed to demonstrate the concepts, can be viewed below or from the playlist at

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.