The Interaction story behind Surface is incredibly rich. Even today, there is a certain tension between our analog (real world) interactions and our digital ones. Who hasn't been to a restaurant and watched couples ignore each other while pouring over their smartphones and facebook accounts? Surface came before the era of the mainstream smartphone culture (before the iphone), but it contained so much of what the mainstream interaction paradigm is today - and even some paradigms that have yet to become mainstream. Surface brings the information-rich digital world out into the analog environment, it encourages collaborative and communal activity in a way no other device has, and brings together another amazing element and innovative concept: digital interaction with real world objects. The background image (courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute) depicts schoolchildren learning how to create fire by twisting a wooden pole atop a pile of digital kindling.