Clicking In –Thinking Beyond Keyboards

Clicking In –Thinking Beyond Keyboards

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On Monday, we introduced you to the next generation of Surface: Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2. There was an incredible energy when we showed our new products. Beyond the devices, we gave people a glimpse into where we are going with Surface and what it truly means to click in and do more. The Surface Remix Projectshowed that productivity can go well beyond Microsoft Office and click in keyboards. We showed how you could click in a special cover that let you remix your favorite songs and share them with the world.


Now let me rewind the clock back a little over three weeks. As we thought about what else we could click in to a Surface, we thought it would be interesting to leave Redmond and get a different perspective. A small group of us - myself and a few folks from Surface - traveled to Pasadena California for a three-day design workshop with a group of design students at the Art Center College of design. The group of students we worked with were students from industrial design, graphic, interaction and information design. A diverse team, just like our team in Redmond. What happened there was super awesome.

Over the course of the three day workshop, the students came up with tons of concepts on how to extend interactions into the physical space. From art and music blades to science, fashion, commerce and incredible blue sky concepts like solar panel blades and context/location aware blades, these students, who barely slept over the three-day workshop, took the spark of an idea to places previously unimagined. They felt like a part of the design team. Their passion for their ideas was so inspiring that we decided to share this out with the world.

Erik Anderson, a talented filmmaker and Art Center alum, directed a behind the scenes video of the Art Center design project which gives you a glimpse into the students’ ideas. Stay tuned for a longer version as well, which we’ll be releasing next week.

Think about your workplace. Do you work in healthcare, manufacturing, do you work in a creative discipline, like art or design, or are you on the road with clients? What type of blades would help you do more? Think about your home life, entertainment, gaming, how your kids use tablets, how you use them in the kitchen, the living room, which apps you love. What type of blade would you want?

Ralf Groene
Creative Director for Surface

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  • Josh
    2 Posts

    What about a universal blade that has sensors in the base and a clear plastic insert cover on top. The cover would allow users to print an A4/letter page to place into the insert.

    Different prints could be downloaded as temples or from Microsoft and vendor websites.

  • Josh
    2 Posts

    I would invest in an Adobe Première blade but could see uses for:

    A piano blade

    POS/cash register blade

    MS Excel blade

    MS/XBOX gamer blade. I would like to control Xbox Games on the big screen while using the Surface screen as Smartglass or game companion screen, with the ability to view weapon systems, maps and vital stats.

    Flight Sim blade.

  • jacques
    1 Posts

    Cool! So easy to come up with ideas that it's fun :-)

    Force feedback blades for games.

    Braille readers

    Blades for Autocad, 3D modeling, architects, engineering, etc.

    Or even a blade for the drawing tools in Office, they are such a pain to use with the ribbon.

    Magic blades for the kids, with soft cushions, bells, whistles, mirrors, wheels :-)

    Medical blades, to measure weight, heart rate, conductivity,

    Worker blades

    POS blades

    Audio blades

    Need more ideas, contact me :-)

    Even better, give me the devkit I'll make them.

  • xlankex
    1 Posts

    I want a video production blade. That would be epic,  one that works with adobe premiere and utilizes the tech.

  • After watching Panay make music, I had to show it to my daughter. Neither of us play an instrument, but we could do this! It kind of reminded me of her Yamaha keyboard (she did take lessons when she was little, but it didn't take), but with the keyboard, you could only play one instrument at a time.

    Sadly, the first blade I'd be buying would be a QWERTY with a 10-key wing that folds out. Second would have to be a drawing/painting canvas. Then, I'd get me that music remix blade. :D

    The blade concept really does change the way we will interact with computers and tablets. Once again, Microsoft has proven to be a lot more innovative than the industry gives you credit for. WTG, MS!

  • observer
    6 Posts

    It would be great if there's an "e-ink" blade, which changes the display dynamically. It can be a touch keyboard, a remix keyboard, an extended blade for interactive gaming, or anything.

    Using the Surface's keyboard wireless adapter we can take this blade off from the Surface and it can become a lightweight e-reader on its own, or a remote e-paper to input some information to the Surface -- controlled by apps or programs from the main Surface machine. This may be useful for many industries, be it education, engineering, manufacturing, or even personal/entertainment use.

    Just think about the following e-ink solution, and imagine if this were to be attached to Surface.

  • Reminds me of the days when you got games that came with a bit of card that fitted over the keyboard to tell you the controls. Great to see Microsoft really innovating on Surface. Keep up the good work!