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Microsoft's Surface has got to be one of our favourite bits of prototype technology. We've all seen it before sharing photos from phones to cameras, and we even posted photos earlier of the Surface sharing Foxtel recommendations with an HTC HD2. But have you ever seen it performing a useful function in the real world?

At the Microsoft ReMix10 developer's conference in Melbourne this week, the Surface became the attendees' go-to tool for collecting information about services on display from Microsoft and its partners. So, naturally, when we went hunting for info about Windows Phone 7 the Surface was our first port of call.

Here is the surface looking extremely messy. Each of the business cards on the Surface has a unique code printed on the back, which display relevant information when they are placed on the screen.

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Ready, set, download

Microsoft training partner Readify made use of the Surface to pimp its wares. The business card can be moved and rotated however you like and the branches of information will follow accordingly.

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A unique snowflake

This is our unique identity code printed on the back of our security pass for the ReMix10 event. While it looks like a QR code, it is a more sophisticated print, capable of producing a much larger range of unique combinations.

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Avatar

When placed on the Surface our unique code displays our contact details. For the record, we asked for a super-cool James Dean avatar, but all they had was screaming acorn men.

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Drag...

Now to collect our Windows Phone 7 info.

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...and drop

We push the link to our avatar and we are immediately sent an email with the information we've requested. This is so much nicer than swapping business cards all day long.

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