Today is the first day of CES 2011 in Las Vegas and lots of gadgets and electronic goodies are wowing or underwhelming the crowds. Among the many technical consumer goods is this: the shiny new Microsoft Surface. It comes equipped with what the company is calling “pixel sense,” a new technology which uses infrared sensors to turn each individual pixel on the screen into a camera. Instead of having cumbersome cameras underneath facing upwards as in the earlier model, the cameras are now embedded into the device itself, making the product thinner. It’s a PC that can see…is this the first step to Skynet-type awareness? Who knows, but it does mean we’ve gone beyond touch into a vision-based interface. So with this new model, what was essentially a good idea but was bogged down by bulk and expense seems to have made significant strides towards eradicating its former problems. We imagine we won’t be seeing the Surface in any living rooms just yet, but we’ll have to wait until they unveil the price to see how affordable this technology is. Still, Microsoft releasing a decent piece of hardware that isn’t a console is news in itself.