First published on TECHNET on Jan 24, 2017
Today marks the start of the Microsoft Mechanics video series on the design, experience, management and security of Microsoft's category-defining Surface Hub, as told by the engineers behind it.
The series kicks off with a 6-minute overview of the hardware and design of the Surface Hub led by Director of Engineering, Peter Oehler. Peter details the level of innovation, from the silicon to the Operating System, as well as the intricacies of the embedded devices and sensors. This combination of attributes makes the Surface Hub able to detect presence and be ready-to-use as soon as you walk into the room, while greatly enhancing the video teleconference experience for meeting participants.
All-in-one intelligent device
If you are not familiar with Surface Hub, it's an all-in-one intelligent, multi-touch, large screen collaboration device with powerful and user-friendly video and teleconference capabilities. Part of what provides a unique collaboration experience is that it allows up to 3 people to work shoulder to shoulder, all of them creating and brainstorming simultaneously using unique pen IDs to differentiate their interactions on the screen.
The Surface Hub is available in two sizes, the 84" 4K display and the 55" Full HD display, and can be either domain-joined and managed as a fully integrated part of your enterprise infrastructure, or used as a standalone device.
As Peter shares, achieving this new class of device required building a factory from the ground up with custom manufacturing equipment and processes to conceive the unique large-screen size and performance of the Surface Hub.
Notably, the cover glass is optically bonded to minimize parallax error and refreshes at 120 Hz, ensuring that pen and touch input never fall behind and mirror the natural experience of writing on a whiteboard.
In addition, the Surface Hub display uses projected capacitive (also known as ProCap) technology to detect the presence of the pen as you hover above it – this means that it knows not to ink until you contact the screen.
Surface Hub awakes from sleep as soon as it detects your presence. During teleconferencing, the 100-degree Field of View, High Definition cameras are tilted in towards the screen to capture the whole room and the front-facing stereo speakers, optimized for human voice, ensure that remote participants are heard clearly and naturally.
To provide the optimal collaborative experience, Surface Hub runs a collaboration-optimized version of Windows 10 (Windows 10 Team Edition) on custom-designed Surface Pro-class hardware, allowing touch and pen to be used simultaneously.
Better still, Surface Hub has the ability to access and drive a companion device using Miracast with touchback and ink-back capabilities. Beyond simply projecting, you can use the Surface Hub interactively as a native touch-enabled display of your device, with access to your desired content and Apps, even if it's not touch-enabled, such as a Mac.
These are just a few of the highlights from today's tour of the design and hardware of the Microsoft Surface Hub.