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Demystifying Microsoft Labs: Surface Hub 2S or changing the way you work

via:博客园     time:2019/4/21 8:31:58     readed:197


Netease Technology News April 21, according to Digital Trends, in Microsoft's Building 33 in Redmond, Washington, USA, there is a conference room you have never seen before. There is a huge glowing sphere inside to act as a “bucky ball” in the conference room. The 360-degree camera emerged from the corner of the pod, and there were many stools around the pod, and several digital panels, the Surface Hub, were built on the wall. Entering the pod is like entering another world, welcome to “Productivity Zone”.

The sphere in Building 33 heralds the future, and as it is described in any good science fiction movie, it doesn't look like the current world at all. Anton Andrews, head of Microsoft's modern work and life vision department, clearly explains the reasons for the change in the office. He said: "We think we can do better and we must do better." ”


Figure 1: The Envisioning Center at Microsoft has a conference room that you have never seen before. It currently uses Microsoft's original Surface Hub, but will soon be upgraded to the new Surface Hub 2S

The Surface Hub is the key to realizing Microsoft's vision of creating immersive video conferencing, whiteboard space, and document sharing space. The first generation of Surface Hub is very popular in the business world, but it has several key flaws. It is worth noting that it cannot be moved. As a result, Microsoft redesigned the Surface Hub and rethought the look of the future office in the process.

This is the right decision. Redesigning the real world office with Microsoft Office, Microsoft is trying to revolutionize your office space and work style, this time through Surface Hub 2S. Microsoft's goal is very clear and ambitious. Reinvent teamwork and let it stand the test of time. Andrews said: "We think there is still an unresolved issue, that is, cooperation. How can we help people come together and work together in a richer way. ”

Design journey of Surface Hub 2S

This time, “The Future Tour” is starting from Building 87, which is one of dozens of buildings on the Microsoft campus. About 40,000 people work for the technology giant in and around Puget Sound, Washington. About 250 of them work in Building 87, and they are responsible for making prototype equipment. John Haley, senior prototype manager at Microsoft Devices, explains: "All products are born here." ”

Harry works at the Advanced Prototyping Center, which is opposite the industrial design space, where the design team's nerve center. There, a team of industrial designers, user interface experts, and hardware engineers are building Microsoft's future technologies, with ideas like Xbox, HoloLens, and Surface coming from here.

The Industrial Design Center has approximately 12 industrial-scale 3D printers and dozens of CNC printers, all of which are used to print Surface prototypes, including Surface Hub 2 and its successor Surface Hub 2X. Harry said: "We print an average of about 400 individual parts per day, which is related to fast iterations. For example, we have an idea in the morning, and then in order to prove it as soon as possible, we need to give the real thing as soon as possible. ”

Unlike the Surface Hub introduced in 2015, the Surface Hub 2S is not mounted on the wall, but placed on a Steel Case-designed stand that is flush with the eye. Unplug the screen and you can push it to any corner of the office, which means collaboration is no longer limited to conference rooms. Designing such a huge device is not an easy task. Harry had to buy a larger CNC machine because the parts of the Surface Hub could not be produced on machines that made Surface Pro 6 (or the expected Surface Pro 7).

Kaeling Gurr, senior designer of the Microsoft equipment division and head of the Surface Hub 2S project, said: "We applied the obsession with detail to all smaller devices and applied them to large devices. This is actually not easy at all. As the size of the device increases, gaps, separation cracks, and the like also increase. So, in fact, every part requires a lot of hardware and engineering innovations to seamlessly combine them. ”

If you look closely, you will find that Microsoft's obsession with details can be seen in many places. Take the border of the Surface Hub 2S as an example, it is now only 15 mm wide. These bezels are made of precision-machined aluminum and are double anodized to allow you to see the platinum finish seen on many Surface products, and then for the second time to achieve a black finish visible from the front. Gul said: "This treatment makes the border appear narrower. ”.

Closer Look at Surface Hub 2S

The Surface Hub 2S's screen is a 50-inch, 4K pixel display that supports multi-touch for multiple users. It is matte treated to give a paper-like touch. Microsoft said it took more than a year to work with a glass manufacturer to develop anti-glare technology, carefully looking for a balance between the nib and the surface of the screen on more than 100 sample screens. If something goes wrong, the nib will jump or slip on the surface of the material. When you're doing it right, you won't even notice that you're writing on the glass.

Gul said: "We will get a large box of glass, the etching process is different, we will sit there with a pen, paint on each glass, feel the touch of different glass. We then evaluate the anti-glare performance and adjust the touch and feel experience based on the clarity of the screen and the ability to block light. ”


Figure 2: How Microsoft Surface Hub 2S is built

Gul pointed out that the technology integrated in the screen will also affect the quality of the screen. Traditionally, edge lighting on the screen creates a sense of motion at the edges. Gul said: “The Surface Hub 2S screen has more than 100 individual spots, which allows you to see very beautiful, even lights and colors across the screen. & rdquo; All of these technologies are an important reason for the Surface Hub 2S starting at $9,000. But for high-tech conference rooms, this is a reasonable price, but it is not suitable for living in the study room.

In many ways, the back of the Surface Hub 2S is as interesting as the front. First of all, the color and quality of the backboard itself. Most large-screen TVs have a black back panel that masks the flaws of the injection molding process used to make large screens. Designers refer to these small defects as “flow marks”, which are caused by the influence of the tool head on the material. Gul and his team found that they often needed to return the product to the manufacturer in order to remove all these traces. The end result is that they can create a beautiful back panel that looks like the front.

Powerful portrait mode

The Surface Hub 2S has a unique rear bumper that fills the gaps in the rear panel. It includes a unique rotation mechanism that lets you rotate the screen from landscape to portrait mode. This is the hallmark of the future version of Surface Hub 2X Surface Hub 2X. Gul said: "This is actually a very simple upgrade. Every Surface Hub 2S is likely to become Surface Hub 2X in the future, thanks to a computing module installed at the bottom of the disk. It contains all the cores of the computer, such as CPU, RAM, and so on. Replacing the ink cartridge unlocks the rotation. ”

It's amazing to upgrade to unlock an existing feature, and it's also annoying. Since the device already has some functionality, why not use it from the start? Microsoft responded by saying that the software is not ready yet, and the company does not want users to experience a disappointing experience. Microsoft's core competency lies in software, but it is increasingly focused on cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Without a close connection between these two areas, just adding a design team (even the best design team in the industry), Microsoft may not be able to build better products.

The Microsoft Teams feature is at the heart of this vision. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that combines concepts such as chat, whiteboarding, and video conferencing, just as Office combines programs like Word and Excel. But programs in the Office suite only need a keyboard, mouse, and computer to run. Ralf Groene, chief vice president of design for Microsoft's equipment division, explained: "This is a dance feast." From the beginning, we liked to use hardware as a stage for software. So instead of putting the hardware in the foreground, we put the hardware in the background so that the software can run. ”

The quietest place on earth

Anyone who has used the Surface product knows that Microsoft will make a big fuss about the details. This attitude also permeates all aspects of the company's products, including sound. Hundraj Gopal, chief engineer of human factors for Microsoft devices, explained: "We are obsessed with the voice." "Gopar is a speech and hearing scientist whose passion for sound is no less than the passion of celebrity chefs for spices."

It was because of Gopal that Microsoft invested more than $1.5 million to build the best anechoic chamber. This is a specially built room filled with spiked foam from top to bottom. It's essentially an independent sound bastion that allows near-perfect isolation and almost complete silence, which means it's the perfect place to test speakers and other audio equipment. Samsung also has a similar silencer room in California, and most audio companies have it, but Microsoft's silencer room is quieter.


Figure 3: Making a Microsoft Surface Hub 2S monitor display

Gopal said: "We have the quietest place in the world, which has been included in the Guinness Book of World Records. "The Microsoft Silencing Room allows engineers to perfect the sound of the buttons, find the best pitch for the squeaky fan, and ensure the best results during the video conference.

Microsoft is keen to collaborate. Gopal believes that the distracting snoring and snoring will make you detach from the state of “heart-to-heart communication”. This is especially important when you consider the breadth of human communication. Some languages ​​rely on clicks and pop-ups, and they have different subtle effects.

Microsoft's senior human factor engineer John · John Morris has a similar obsession with the subtleties of human interaction. He is responsible for the ear room and may have been left to test the Surface Headphone. The utility of the other tools he has is less obvious, but when he interprets these tools, they become meaningful.

For example, a cap made up of electrodes is used to measure the EEG of brain activity, and Morris uses it to measure brain activity in people using Surface devices. For the Surface Hub 2S, Morris used EEG for different test objects to ensure that the angle of the Surface Hub 2S on the stand is completely correct. It's too steep to write on it. When it's too flat, it becomes like a table. There is no longer a whiteboard effect.

Microsoft is developing Surface Hub 3

Walking down the dark corridor of Building 87, the last thing you can find is a special room filled with oscilloscopes and instruments from crazy scientists. This is where the Senior Research Manager Tim · Tim Large manages the Applied Sciences Group. Moreover, this may be the key to the future of Hub, which will affect the office you walk into every morning.

Laki said: "Our work is to find new technologies that can be integrated into our products in the next two to three years. "In the corner of the lab, a translucent display is facing a group of cameras that can track someone's eyes and movements so that they can better aim the camera directly at them, whether they move in the room or not." Where to go. The second, more esoteric demonstration is designed to blur the boundaries between the workspace and the physical space.

Raki continues to say: "This monitor is actually locked in your face, it will present different images for your left and right eyes, and present these images in your head position. You should give the impression that you are looking through a window to the distance. ” When we watched, someone on the other side of the window took out a 3D object, which is a virtual widget that can be added to the video conference. The effect is a bit dazzling and a bit disturbing, unlike any of the collaborative experiences we've tried.

This is the key. Microsoft wants to rethink all aspects of the workplace, from the software we use to the space we live in. From what we have seen, Microsoft's attitude toward change is serious. Focusing on collaboration is not just about verbal, but about transforming into action in a meaningful internal reorganization. Raki said: "We used to be the place where the stairs are not in sight. & rdquo; Now, Laki has a lot of space and countless tools for him to use, let us see what magic he will change next. (small)

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