Devices like the Windows Surface have been in development for what feels like an age, and delivered very little. Now 3M Touch Systems is showing off a 46-inch prototype touchscreen table at CES that allows up to 60 touch points, and sounds like it might actually be useful.
Initially split up into four distinct screens so users can share the device, the display can also be toggled to show two separate screens, or just one for uninterrupted viewing. You can also press an on-screen button and rotate an isolated screen to show someone what you're looking at.
The CES demo device is able to run a browser, show Twitter feeds, demonstrate how it would be used for food and drink, and more, according to Engadget. This models is a prototype, and an official launch should come sometime in Q3 2012. 3M plan to test the device in schools and other educational settings before it's rolled out onto the commercial market. So at least it should be able to survive sticky hands and things being spilt on it by the time it arrives.
The device will support up to 60 touch points, and can even ignore elbow and forearm touches, so its easy to imagine the device being used in crowded spaces like retails stories, restaurants and bars. A touchscreen table that might actually be useful? [Engadaget]