the Micrsoft Surface

Overview

Microsoft PixelSense (formerly called Microsoft Surface) is an interactive surface computing platform that allows one or more people to use and touch real-world objects, and share digital content at the same time. The PixelSense platform consists of software and hardware products that combine vision based multitouch PC hardware, 360-degree multiuser application design, and Windows software to create a natural user interface (NUI).

I have gotten my hands on a unit with a defective hard drive. In the process of reviving it, I learned a lot, but I also found out that resources and related web pages are slowly disappearing. Therefore I decided to write down my notes so at least some knowledge of these big machines stays preserved.

Installation

  1. Install Windows Vista Ultimate 32 bits
  2. Install ATI legacy drivers: 10-2_legacy_vista32-64_dd_ccc.exe
  3. Install an older, Windows Vista compatible Daemon-tools
  4. Install Microsoft Visual C# Studio 2008 Express
  5. Install XNA Framework 2.0: xnafx20_redist.msi
  6. Install the Microsoft Surface Developer SDK: SurfaceSDK.exe
  7. Put the calibration data into the registry: Copy the files from TableParameters to %PROGRAMDATA% and run Calibration.reg.

Miscellaneous notes:

Reference links

Pictures

To open up the short sides of the Microsoft Surface, unscrew the two thumbscrews at the bottom and push the side downward.
opening the Micrsoft Surface opening the Micrsoft Surface
The short side with the on/off push button at the bottom reveals several ports that are wired through to the PC: 6x USB, audio, RGB, VGA and LAN.
Micrsoft Surface ports
The short side with the power switch and the power cord contains the PC.
Micrsoft Surface power switch and power cord plug
The long sides can be removed after the short sides. Unscrew 4 torx screws (2 on each side). Tilt the side on the top and lift it up.
opening the Micrsoft Surface long sides - unscrew 4 torx screws opening the Micrsoft Surface long sides - tilt the side and lift it up
To remove the computer: 1) Disconnect the earth wire connecting Surface frame to pc case.
remove the Micrsoft Surface computer - disconnect the earth wire
2) Disconnect these 2 connectors.
remove the Micrsoft Surface computer - disconnect 2 connectors
3) Disconnect all wires from the computer. Be sure to note all their locations
remove the Micrsoft Surface computer - disconnect all wires from the computer
4) Remove the 5 screws that hold the pc case in rubber mounts. Carefully manouvre the pc through the Surface frame.
remove the Micrsoft Surface computer - remove the 5 screws holding the pc, carefully remove the pc
PC removed. The black tape is there to cover up two open screwholes, so there is no light leaking into the projection chamber.
the Micrsoft Surface computer removed
Remove a lot of little screws to open up the Microsoft Surface computer to gain access to the hard drive, CMOS battery and more.
opening the Micrsoft Surface computer
The short side that contains the replicated ports can also be opened up. These pictures can be used as a reference how everything is wired up.
replicated port connection reference replicated port connection reference replicated port connection reference replicated port connection reference
There are some wiring diagrams provided in the Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft Surface cable connection reference - PC enclosure Microsoft Surface cable connection reference - SCM
A peek inside the projection chamber showing the projector, Infra-Red source and 3 of the 5 IR cameras. Everything is black matte to minimize reflections.
Microsoft Surface projector, infrared source and IR cameras