I came across this video about a relatively new high-tech oriental restaurant located in London. Even though the restaurant is not using multi-touch technology, I think that their interaction is more down-to-earth and useful than the applications shown in the cheesy (and degrading) Microsoft Surface ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2R24CfeZoY) .  The concept seems to be quite simple: the video is projected on each table by an overhead projector.  Customers interact with the application using a touchpad so there is no need for the whole table’s surface to be touchable.

What I found particular interesting is that the designers thought about several ways to customize the customers’ experience such as allowing them to choose the virtual tablecloth and to have each entrée being displayed right unto your dish as opposed of just seeing the pictures on the menu.  Additionally, while their waiting for the food, customers can play digital games, get info about tourist places nearby, order a taxi, and even see (via video stream) how the chef is preparing their food.

Also, the interaction seems to be very intuitive: other videos located in the restaurant’s website show first-time costumers and kids interacting with the applications without any problems.

A multi-touch solution would have been quite expensive for a small restaurant so I think that it is really creative how the owners of this particular restaurant explored other alternatives and came out with an interaction that might have even surpassed the success of implementing a much more expensive and sophisticated solution (such as Microsoft Surface).

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