Initial Development

Project Start

  • The project started with the hire of the student developer, Justin Daoust.
  • Thanks to Microsoft Research, we joined the Microsoft Surface 2 Early Access Program and were able to access the Surface 2 software development kit (SDK).
  • We formed a collaborative partnership with the Computer Graphics Group at Brown University through which they offered us assistance and their software called the Large Artwork Display on the Surface or LADS.
  • Our student developer started working with LADS developers, discussed wireframes and project goals.
  • We updated the project goal to solely demonstrate the benefits of touch and gesture technology in the library setting based on available resources. Our aim focused on two use case scenarios: access to collections and improving awareness.

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Hardware

In terms of hardware, we set up a development environment for under $3K which includes:

Dell Precision T3500 

Specifications:

  • Windows 7 Professional (64bit)
  • Quad Core Intel Xeon
  • 12GB of RAM 1333mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • Nvidia Quadro 2000 (graphics card)

Dell ST2220T Touchscreen Monitor

  • Resolution 1900 x 1080
  • 21.5 inch display
  • Later replaced by the SX2210T due to MS Surface SDK driver issues

Dell SX2210T Touchscreen Monitor

  • Resolution 1900 x 1080
  • 21.5 inch display


Issues & Solutions:

  • We encountered some issues with the Dell ST2220T monitor when using certain versions of the Surface 2 SDK due to a missing driver. To use it we had to uninstall the version of the SDK we had been using (2.0.20217.02) and replace it with an older prototype version (2.0.10615.00). Running this version altered some minor characteristics of the LADS interface.
  • To use the more current version of the SDK, we had to purchase an older monitor, the Dell SX2210T on eBay.

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Software

Downloaded Visual Studio 2010 Professional from Dreamspark.com:

  • Signed up for access and completed verification for Dreamspark.com's software program
  • Installed XNA Framework, Surface 2 SDK and Visual Studio 2010 Professional for development
  • Organized LADS resources (folders, files) - earlier versions of the software were very large (approx. 20GB) and had to be downloaded in sections

Performed Surface SDK tests and researched WPF and XAML via Google searches. The Surface 2 SDK had not been released so little reference material was available. More information is now available on the updated Microsoft Surface website.

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Development

After loading LADS and examining the source code, began editing parameters in the XAML, altering colors, adding background images, etc. See the video below which demonstrates some of the development work.

Video Example

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Content

We gathered digital objects from the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University to showcase during the first of two demonstrations to the Harvard community. The student learned by doing, programming Surface 2 applications to address the first scenario while receiving guidance from the LADS team.

Next, we downloaded Microsoft's Deep Zoom Composer software to incorporate new image content into LADS. The process required converting images into Deep Zoom folders as well as creating thumbnails for the LADS timeline.

Video Example