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Wall-to-Wall touchscreens to invade homes and offices, says Gates

Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, disclosed his vision of the future during a speech at the Microsoft CEO Summit called "The Next Wave of Technology".

One of the highlights of his speech was his demonstration of the touch wall technology where touchscreens would cover the walls and free surfaces in our homes and offices.

He showed Touch Wall, a vertical prototype using Microsoft's Surface technology, which he expects to become absolutely pervasive in the near future.

Speaking to the audience, he posits that "Our view is that all the surfaces – horizontal surfaces, vertical surfaces – will eventually have an inexpensive screen-display capability and software that sees what you're doing there, so it's completely interactive"

Cnet reports that the six by four feet model presented by Microsoft would turn anything into a multi touch interface and would cost "hundreds" rather than "thousands" of Pounds and involves the use of lasers and cameras rather than an active surface like on traditional touchscreens hence the reduced cost.

However, just like other promising technologies like voice recognition, touchscreen could be limited by a number of practical obstacles like durability, space, compatibility with existing services and users' habits.

Alternatively, smaller touchscreen surfaces like the one used on the iPhone currently make more sense because they are relatively easy to grasp from a user point of view and are an extension rather than a radical new approach to user interface.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.