CNET Reports: "A group of academics will be among the first people outside Microsoft to see Sphere, a spherical surface computer developed by Microsoft Research.
The sphere-shaped, multitouch computer is similar to the tabletop Surface computer that Microsoft announced last year after years in development. This incarnation, however, remains a project within Microsoft Research and the company has no current plans to bring it to market.
The university researchers are at Microsoft as part of its yearly Faculty Summit. Also at the event, Microsoft announced a series of tools for researchers, including a plug-in for Office that lets people embed a Creative Commons license directly into their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.
The software maker also announced a hosted e-Journal service to allow online academic publications and conference proceedings to more easily be published.
As for Sphere, attendees will get to see that starting Tuesday as part of an exhibit hall at the event. However, I had a chance on Friday to sit down with surface computing pioneer Andy Wilson, who showed me some of the technology powering Sphere, which was developed in large part by Wilson's colleague, Hrvoje Benko."