Las Vegas's Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino becomes the second commercial location to sport Microsoft's Surface devices--table-top, multi-touch-input computers. The first commercial implementation of Surface was this last April in select AT&T stores.
"Harrah's will deploy a suite of their own customized applications and be the first to install Microsoft Surface in an entertainment venue, providing guests with uniquely personalized and engaging social experiences. Their most ambitious application is 'Flirt' which uses strategically placed video cameras to create an exciting new way to initiate conversation, flirt and meet new people from one Surface to another. Additional applications include a series of play-for-fun interactive games like bowling, a challenging musical memory game, and multi-player pinball with a twist. There's even a cool mixologist app that lets you design and order your own drinks."
"In addition to the applications that Harrah's created, they are also using the photos and concierge apps that the Surface team built. Harrah's has taken those apps and customized them to the Rio/Las Vegas environment with photos, video, maps and attractions info to help guests plan their stay all within the comfort of the iBar."
The Rio will have six Surface units placed throughout the casino's appropriately titled iBar. A high-end entertainment venue is a logical locale for the interactive, but expensive (estimated at up to $10,000 per unit) technology. Multi-touch interfaces are becoming increasingly popular and look to become the next tipping point for computer interfaces. Not only is the technology used in Apple's iPhone and iPod touch devices, but Microsoft has already displayed a prototype of a newer multi-touch technology that brings the interface to many other types of surfaces, such as walls and floors. If Microsoft's vision pans out, the cost to implement the technology will become much more affordable and the technology will potentially become nearly ubiquitous. Apparently, what happens in Vegas, doesn't stay in Vegas.