New Zealander Heads Microsoft Innovation
NZ software architect Nigel Keam has spearheaded the development of Microsoft’s new Surface technology, the subject of much excitement and speculation in the computing industry. Surface is a tabletop PC device with a touch interface that uses an integrated 30-inch screen and five cameras to enable access to music, photos, the web, and more. Surface can recognise fingers and hands as well as inanimate objects such as MP3 players, “smart” credit cards and digital cameras. Keam, a physics and computer science graduate of Auckland University, has worked for Microsoft in the US for 12 years. He joined Surface Computing in 2003. “When I joined, there was a working prototype and when I first saw it, I just fell in love with it,” he said in the NZ Herald. “[Bill Gates] was very enthusiastic from the first time he saw the concept and has been a great supporter.” Initially, the US $6000 Surface will only be available to select Microsoft partners, including Harrah’s casinos, Sheraton hotels and phone company T-Mobile. Keam hopes it will eventually become an indispensable device in schools and homes, as well as in public and private businesses.