Microsoft Research

  • As Google Shoots For The Moon, Microsoft Praises The Virtues Of Open Research

    As Google Shoots For The Moon, Microsoft Praises The Virtues Of Open Research

    A few days ago, Google unveiled its latest moon shot: a contact lens with a built-in glucose sensor. As far as Google[x] projects go, the lens is right up there with flying wind turbines and balloon-powered Internet service (though maybe not quite on the same level as self-driving cars). There is an interesting twist to this whole story, though: the researchers who are working on this project… Read More

  • Inside Microsoft’s Cauldron Of Ideas: From Kinect, Bing And Killing The Blue Screen Of Death, To Code That Can Learn, Pixels You Can Hold And Drugs Compiled From DNA

    Inside Microsoft’s Cauldron Of Ideas: From Kinect, Bing And Killing The Blue Screen Of Death, To Code That Can Learn, Pixels You Can Hold And Drugs Compiled From DNA

    Far from being chained to the product pipeline, Microsoft’s research labs operate more like university research departments — with a remit to be the “farseeing eyes” of the company, says Andrew Blake, lab director of Microsoft Research Cambridge. Projects bubbling away in this “cauldron of ideas” may never end up on a shelf — giving Redmond’s… Read More

  • Explore 13.7 Billion Years Of Cosmic History In Your Browser With ChronoZoom

    Explore 13.7 Billion Years Of Cosmic History In Your Browser With ChronoZoom

    Sometimes I feel like we of the tech community tend to get bogged down in the little stuff. Hardware specs, OS choices, rumor after endless rumor — it can be nice to just take a step back and stop sweating the small stuff. For a bit of perspective, why not take a few minutes this fine Friday afternoon and explore the nearly 14 billion year history of the cosmos as we know it? There… Read More

  • More Mind-Blowing Real-World Kinect Interaction From Microsoft Research

    More Mind-Blowing Real-World Kinect Interaction From Microsoft Research

    Have you had your share of augmented reality this month? Between CMU’s OmniTouch, Microsoft’s HoloDesk, and Metaio’s updated AR app, you could be forgiven. But trust me, you’ll want to watch this video of Microsoft Research prototypes using pico projectors and Kinect cameras. The ability to quickly build and track a 3D model of the environment (as we and Bill Gates… Read More

  • 20 Years Of Microsoft Research

    20 Years Of Microsoft Research

    This month marks the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Research, perhaps the most consistently interesting division of the hulking software company. Take a few minutes to peruse the timeline of their work, which ranges from consumer-facing work like Cleartype and spam recognition to the obscure, academic, and quixotic. The names behind the ideas are unlikely to be recognized, but they include… Read More

  • Video: Free-Moving Kinect Used To Map Room And Objects In Detailed 3D

    Video: Free-Moving Kinect Used To Map Room And Objects In Detailed 3D

    We’ve seen hacks for the Kinect from the very start, and even some that suggested one like this might be possible: a Kinect being moved around like a camera, recording the depth of everything it sees and building up a full-3D map of the room and every object in it. They call it KinectFusion, and it’s really quite fascinating to watch. The position of the camera is constantly tracked… Read More

  • “Data Furnace” Would Heat Homes While Flipping Bits

    “Data Furnace” Would Heat Homes While Flipping Bits

    One byproduct of computing almost everybody has had to deal with at some time or another is the heat. Whether it’s your Xbox overheating due to poor ventilation, your MacBook’s fan roaring like a jet engine, or some other manifestation, the inescapable truth is that computers these days get warm. Whether it’s a processor, hard drive, or video card, it produces waste heat as… Read More

  • Microsoft Research Looking Into Better, Whole-Hand Touchscreen Gestures

    One of the main limitations on touchscreen interfaces these days is that all you can do is poke at them. We do all kinds of things with our hands, but when it comes to screens, we just poke at them all day. UIs are doing all right, since our phone OSes still mimic mouse-based desktop OSes to some extent, but Microsoft is looking to ways to integrate more natural hand gestures incorporating… Read More

  • Microsoft researching "4-D light fields" for better 3D displays

    One of the issues people have with 3D displays, or more precisely, rather one of the issues people’s brains have with 3D displays, is that your eyes remain focused on the same plane (the screen) while the actual visual cues change and make you think you should be refocusing. It’s such a fundamental response that it can’t really be avoided, only accommodated. One project… Read More

  • Microsoft Research: A Look At The Intriguing Social Desktop Prototype

    Late last week, Microsoft Research shared a couple of things about Social Desktop, a prototype of which they are debuting at TechFest 2009 in a couple of days (along with dozens of other things). From the looks of it, this will be a much talked about product even if it stays in proof-of-concept phase for now. And if they decide to open it up even just a little, this could be a major… Read More

  • Microsoft's UnMouse pad: an enormous pressure-sensing trackpad


    This UnMouse pad being shown at the Microsoft Research Summit looks pretty freaking awesome. It’s a super-thin, pressure-sensitive little pad that can take just about as many inputs as you care to give it — and each input contains analog pressure info. Microsoft is working with NYU to put it out there; it’s apparently cheap to make and is almost certainly able to be made in… Read More