In one use, people place a card on the table to call up a virtual stack of digital photos from a computer server and then rotate, resize and
spread them across the table using their hands. In another, diners split a tab by dragging icons of their meals to their credit cards.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Harrah's Entertainment and T-Mobile are among those planning to use the device. Longer term, the company says, it is aiming for the broader consumer market, but price will be a major obstacle for the new machine to overcome. "If we made this a product sale, think of it in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 per unit," says Pete Thompson, general manager of Microsoft Surface Computing.