Sharetable is all about simplifying interactions around a computer. Instead of having two people grappling for control, with awkward exchanges of mouse and keyboard and adjustments of screen position, it's designed to let two people work together more elegantly. Its approach is, in essence, to mirror or extend the screen across two displays on the same desk. But there's more to it. For starters, the computer is embedded in the desk. And so is one of the screens.
Sharetable is the brainchild of Swiss design agency ReMago and Italian technology firm CloudProject Generation. Its creators call it "your first computer desktop." Unlike Ideum’s multitouch smart tables, which feature huge end-to-end screens, Sharetable looks and functions like a conventional desk, only with a few suave tech-centric additions.
Its wires and cables run through one of the table legs and the inside of the tabletop, with five built-in plugs for USB and one for an HDMI or VGA monitor on the table edges. Beneath the glass rest two multitouch displays. At one end there's a 7-inch mini-display that provides control over many PC functions and widgets or that can be used as a trackpad or touch keyboard. On the opposite side, facing the other direction, there's a 21.5-inch 1080p screen with a custom interface intended for clients, guests, and collaborators to interact with.
Expected use cases include the boss' office at a company as well as for doctors to share test results and designers or real estate agents to share pictures and other information with their customers. With the display extended onto the touchscreen, Sharetable is also meant to be suitable for browsing a menu while waiting to be seated at a restaurant or for examining a map of a shopping mall.
CloudProject CEO Cristiano Fumagalli tells Gizmag that both touchscreens can be switched on or off with a simple keystroke, so you can easily save power or protect sensitive information when the situation calls for it. Or, as Fumagalli notes, you might prefer to extend the main display to the second screen with a PDF or catalog for a client to browse while you engage in confidential work.
Sharetable also includes an integrated microphone and speakers, a 3G/LTE modem, temperature and humidity sensors, and an NFC authentication system.
A Mac Mini/OS X version will set you back at least US$5,990, while Windows 8.1 or Android builds start at $4,590. There are three main models: Basic, which includes an Intel Atom quad core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 64 GB SSD; Advanced, which steps up to a Core i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM and 120 GB of hard-drive space; and Professional, which ups the RAM to 16 GB and has three USB 3.0 ports (whereas the Basic and Advanced models have only USB 2.0).
You can see a video exploring Sharetable's features below.