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Microsoft-backed startup launches software to turn surfaces into touchscreens

In recent months, critics of Microsoft's Surface tablets have used their lacklustre sales as an opportunity to question the company's competitive edge. But no matter your opinion, one thing has become clear: the company's focus on touchscreen interfaces is proving to be right on the mark. Now, one startup backed by Microsoft is looking to revolutionise the touchscreen market by making any surface interactive.

Microsoft announced this week that Ubi Interactive is now taking orders for software that works with the Kinect to instantly turn nearly any surface into a touchscreen.

Ubi Interactive showed off an early prototype version of the software as part of the Microsoft Kinect Accelerator programme last year, and it's now ready for primetime.

"By making it possible to turn any surface into a touch screen, we eliminate the need for screen hardware and thereby reduce the cost and extend the possibilities of enabling interactive displays in places where they were not previously feasible — such as on walls in public spaces," Ubi Interactive CEO Anup Chathoth said in a statement. "Our technology has implications of revolutionizing the way people live their lives on a global level."

According to the company's support documentation, the software cannot be used on reflective surfaces, which makes the interface controller an interesting alternative to the glossy touchscreens many of us have become accustomed to on the latest tablets.

The basic Ubi Interactive software package, which supports screens up to 45in is selling for $149 (£95), while the professional version supports screens up to 100in and sells for $379 (£243). The company is also selling an enterprise version for $1,499 (£960).

In addition to the software and a flat surface, users will also need to purchase a Kinect for Windows sensor.