The Research & Development Lab at The New York Times has a track record of inventing beautiful, smart technologies that interface with their product. For example, Project Cascade visualizes the life of a Times story on Twitter.
The latest R&D Lab project is a kitchen table that — not unlike a giant iPad — displays the Times’ content in an easily-consumable way. Incredibly, the touch-screen technology they’re using reacts to objects placed on the table. Put your mobile device down on the surface, and the table communicates with it.
Of course, the project provokes questions about the “infinite scalability” of touch-screens, and the problem of “economies of scale” therein. A lot of people are calling the project “brilliant” and “groundbreaking,” but I’ve been using my iPad as a table for a year (it’s all I have space for). Necessity is the mother of invention.