Samsung SUR40 is a multitouch table of 40 inches with full HD resolution can recognize up to 50 simultaneous touches. The cost at launch was around 10,000$. The product was very appreciated and it was considered very innovative.
The touch sensor was based on a cameras system, at that time very sophisticated. This technology is very sensitive to light, just expose the touch table to a source of direct light that the touch stops working. I saw many installations completely blocked in fairs and events due to sunlight or artificial lighting too bright. Fortunately with modern touch tables based on capacitive technology that does not happen anymore.
With the Microsoft PixelSense SDK was possible to create engaging interactive experiences. All multi touch software were built around PixelSense and today almost all commercial software use these libraries.
From experience I can say that the most appreciated feature was the recognition of physical objects which, appropriately "tagged", allow the application to intercept the while when a user put the object on the table.
Especially when Windows 8 comes many customers have asked to migrate to a more modern touch technology, mainly to resolve issues related to light. They were born many manufacturers of screens and multi-touch tables, I quote for example among the many 3M, HumeLab, Ideum and Displax that we uses in our projects. Speaking about touch response, these manufacturers have reached on their displays from 46" to 100" the same performance as an iPad. We realized that to catch the full potential of multi-touch capacitive displays we move far from the old Microsoft PixelSense SDK. The challenge was great, exciting and very rewarding. Indeed, we have made the software using the native APIs of the operating system and DirectX for rendering and for some effects. The pleasant surprise was the smoothness of the software and the accuracy of touch recognition.
This was very much appreciated by customers, but there was a new challenge: implement the recognition of physical objects on a capacitive touch table. The recognition of physical objects with SUR40 happened thanks to the recognition by the cameras of a colorful tags (Microsoft Tags). Obviously, not having more than cameras, with capacitive technology this is no longer possible. Our solution works through a proximity sensor based on the standard NFC (Near Field Technology). Thanks to NFC tags placed on the physical object we are able to capture the moment when a user approaches to the NFC reader.
Finally, I feel that the capacitive technology is absolutely mature and so clients that aim to greatly strengthen the brand to create more engaging digital experiences, with costs even lower than a few years ago.