Review Category : Research

Imagine you are going for a clothing store fitting room, and you can get the different size, color of the garment you need with a simple touch. This is becoming real as a new project by Accenture, Avanade, and Microsoft has prototyped exactly this. This “Connected Fitting Room” project makes uses of RFID technology to track what you try on and use that data for other purposes such as recommendations, etc. In the Connected Fitting Room, each garment in the store is labeled with an RFID tag–a low-power radio transmitter that identifies itself, like, “Hey, I’m a medium Ralph Lauren plaid shirt!” Then, inside the fitting room, there’s a an RFID reader. So when a shopper walks into the room, that clothing uploads to the network, and then it appears on a screen in the room. Want another size or color? Just tap the screen, and a clerk will receive ...

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On the eve of World Cup Football event, Microsoft Bing today posted their predictions for this biggest sporting event in the world. Microsoft recently posted predictions on which contestants were most likely to get voted off or win The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, and American Idol, and they are taking the experiment a step further applying it to the World Cup.   When a user search for “World Cup”, “Predictions”, or any matches, Microsoft will display the chances of each respective team to win as seen in the image above. How Did We Come Up with the Predictions? The process of predicting outcomes of sporting events is unlike voting show predictions, as popularity and some sentiment signals do not play similar roles in determining who wins a contest.  Rather, the actions and performances of a handful of individuals solely determine who wins, loses, or ties.  For the tournament, our models evaluate the ...

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Based on previous reports, we already know that Microsoft is working on a smartwatch. The smartwatch will work with iPhones, Android and Windows devices. It will continuously measure heart rate through the day and night and will offer up to two days of battery life. Today, Gearlive.com claimed that they have seen the device in person, and it was similar to Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit in appearance. The device will include heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The report even claims that Microsoft might make announcement about this device at E3 tomorrow. The Motely Fool even reports that Microsoft has already announced the Smartwatch, Microsoft just announced that it is developing a smartwatch that can monitor a user’s heart rate with a battery that lasts for up to two days. The watch will be compatible with Windows Phone, Apple iOS, and Google ...

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Microsoft always predicts the technology future correct than any other technology company. They did it in the past with PC revolution, tablets, smartphones, smart watches, interactive live TV, and even smart homes. The above video is the Microsoft’s vision of the future smart home released in the 90’s. As you can see, there are lots of things you saw in the video is now available in the market. Yet, there is no Smart home solution that works in a integrated way as Microsoft’s predicted. Hopefully, Microsoft will be able to deliver this Smart home platform before anyone else. Even though Microsoft entered smartphone, smart watch and tablet industries before anyone else in the industry, Microsoft is now trailing. I really hope Microsoft does not miss yet another opportunity. What do you think? ...

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Microsoft Research is working on a system that makes sounds seem to originate from specific points in space. Electronics on the top of the headphones have sensors to track the motion of the wearer’s head. Microsoft Researchers call it a 3-D Audio. Technology Review recently had a chance to experience this technology at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley lab. I put on a pair of wireless headphones that made nearby objects suddenly burst into life. A voice appeared to emanate from a cardboard model of a portable radio. Higher quality music seemed to come from a fake hi-fi speaker. And a stuffed bird high off the ground produced realistic chirps. As I walked around, the sounds changed so that the illusion never slipped as their position relative to my ears changed. That somewhat eerie experience was made possible because less than a minute earlier I had sat down in front of a ...

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Microsoft and the University of Maryland have developed a Bitcoin alternative called “Permacoins”. Bitcoin have become the successful e-cash system in the recent years, but mining Bitcoins wastes computational resources. Bitcoin’s underlying mining mechanism, attempting to solve computational puzzles that have no intrinsic utility. So, Premacoins re-purposes its mining resources to achieve a more broadly useful goal like distributed storage of archival data. For example, you could store some 100GB of government data on your system to earn premacoins. Unlike Bitcoin and its proposed alternatives, Permacoin requires clients to invest not just computational resources, but also storage. Our scheme involves an alternative scratch-off puzzle for Bitcoin based on Proofs-of-Retrievability (PORs). Successfully minting money with this SOP requires local, random access to a copy of a file. Given the competition among mining clients in Bitcoin, this modified SOP gives rise to highly decentralized file storage, thus reducing the overall waste of ...

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This is a new project called deCIPHER which is a collaboration between Microsoft researcher Lucy Vanderwende and University of Washington researchers which uses Microsoft Research toolkit. The project uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to diagnose critical illnesses automatically from a patient’s electronic medical records. They took the data of the electronic medical records in the diagnosis of pneumonia in approximately 100 patients being treated in the ICU at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. And they applied the NLP tools from Microsoft to identify the critical clinical information and trained the software using machine learning techniques. MSR claims that the software achieved a correct diagnosis with correct time-of-onset for positive cases in 84 percent of the patients. Electronic medical records can be especially useful in the diagnosis of pneumonia, which has a nasty habit of appearing after a patient has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU). Currently, ...

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MonoFusion is a Microsoft Research project that uses a camera that could be already available in a tablet or a phone for creating 3-D scans of arbitrary environments in real time, utilizing only a single RGB camera as the input sensor. You should note down that there is no additional input hardware like Depth sensor is required for this technology. If Microsoft uses this technology in Lumia devices, in seconds, a user can generate a compelling 3-D model, which can be used in augmented reality, for 3-D printing, or in computer-aided design. MonoFusion allows a user to build dense 3D reconstructions of their environment in real-time, utilizing only a single, off-the-shelf web camera as the input sensor. The camera could be one already available in a tablet, phone, or a standalone device. No additional input hardware is required. This removes the need for power intensive active sensors that do not work robustly in natural outdoor ...

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Microsoft Research FUSE labs today revealed a new project called Eventful. Eventful makes it possible for anyone to access the service of event reporting. The reporting process is executed behind the scenes through a crowd of people working online or at the event to produce a news report. Eventful system helps produce news reports by recruiting and guiding remote and locative crowd workers who attend events in person to perform information collection missions. Basically, journalism as a service. Here is how it works, Eventful makes requesting a report a one-step process: identify the event type, location, date, and duration. A few hours later and under $150 dollars, a multimedia event report is ready. Eventful hopes to prevent community groups that organize local events on a tight budget from scrambling to cover the event themselves (or risk getting no coverage). A city council could use the system to request reports of discussions that take place during ...

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  Microsoft has recently formed a cross-group Inking team between Office, Surface, and Windows groups. This team is now exploring a possibility of creating a unified Inking experience that will offer a great experience for Microsoft eco-system users. When you read the whole presentation embedded below, you will come to know that there is a possibility that Microsoft’s Courier UI vision may become true at least. You can select an area in a website, drag and drop it to Office apps, edit them and all these using your inking pen. In late 2013 and early 2014 Office, Surface, and Windows formed a Cross-Group Inking team to explore One Microsoft needs for a unified approach to inking. In this session Tucker Hatfield presents details about the Cross-Group effort and their conclusions of what is needed for first-class inking and Will Vong shows visionary ways in which these needs might be met with inking ...

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A Microsoft Research project titled ‘Great Inking’ became public on the web recently. It reveals that Microsoft has formed a cross-division inking team that will devise a unified inking strategy for Microsoft. The project has revealed no.of upcoming Office touch UI for Windows. You can see the Excel UI in the image above. In late 2013 and early 2014 Office, Surface, and Windows formed a Cross-Group Inking team to explore One Microsoft needs for a unified approach to inking. In this session Tucker Hatfield presents details about the Cross-Group effort and their conclusions of what is needed for first-class inking and Will Vong shows visionary ways in which these needs might be met with inking features. Check out Outlook and Word Touch UI below. Source: WalkingCat ...

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Microsoft Research has recently released Code Hunt, a browser-based game for anyone who is interested in coding. It is based on the fact that people can be more effective and sustainable when coding is fun. Codehunt uses puzzles, which players explore by means of clues presented as test cases. Players iteratively modify their code to match the functional behavior of secret solutions. Once their code matches, lights flash and sounds play, letting players know that they have “captured” the code. Players then get a score, which depends on how elegant their solution is, and are encouraged to move on to the next puzzle or level. Players can use either C# or Java to play this game. Code Hunt was developed by a team in Microsoft Research led by Principal Development Lead Nikolai Tillmann and Principal Research Software Engineer Peli de Halleux. It is based on Pex, Microsoft Research’s state-of-the-art implementation ...

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Two interesting job listings from Microsoft was revealed today. One of them is from the team which created Kinect which is working on revolutionizing consumer electronic devices. Their work involves developing ground-breaking hardware, software, and experiences across computer vision, machine learning, human-computer interaction, image and video processing, networking and graphics. I guess Alex Kipman, the creative head behind Kinect is leading this project now. Microsoft is working on revolutionizing consumer electronic devices, and you can be a part of that. The group that created Kinect and profoundly changed the way people interact with technology is forming a team to change the world again! We are a growing team of expert engineers working in an agile and high-energy environment to redefine experiences by making technology disappear. We are developing ground-breaking hardware, software, and experiences across computer vision, machine learning, human-computer interaction, image and video processing, networking and graphics. Are you an ...

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The Microsoft Applied Sciences Group in Research division has been investigating making devices that disconnect the apparent location of a displayed image from the location of the hardware so that the images appear to “float” in the air. In this way, you can allow one use is for allowing touch interfaces that don’t require physical contact. Floating Display: Visual Cues for Gestural Interactions Many people are working on near-field user-interface devices that detect hover, gesture, and pose. But there is nothing in the space in front of a device to show the user what to do. This project introduces a floating display that hovers over the device, providing visual cues for gestural interactions. Microsoft Research team has created a prototype for this project and demoed it at 2014 Silicon Valley TechFest. You can see the demo in the above video. ...

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We all often use a whiteboard at work with a marker in our hands. Have you ever thought of having a huge digital whiteboard which can recognize you, respond to your gestures, etc,.? Microsoft Research project ViiBoard uses vision techniques to significantly enhance the user experience on large touch displays (e.g. Microsoft Perceptive Pixel) in two areas: human computer interaction and immersive remote collaboration. ViiBoard is a system for remote collaboration through a digital whiteboard (PPI) that gives participants an immersive, 3-D experience with enhanced touch capability. ViiBoard emulates writing side by side on a physical whiteboard or, alternatively, on a mirror, through 3-D processing of depth images and life-sized rendering. Additional vision techniques, such as hand-gesture recognition, are integrated to understand users’ intentions before they touch the board, simplifying the interaction with a PPI, especially for content editing and presenting. Compared with standard video conferencing, the ViiBoard provides participants ...

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Microsoft Research is now exploring the area of ‘Emotional Intelligence” which could play a key factor in the future where Cortana might become the true personal assistants for people. Inspired by Spike Jonze’s slightly futuristic, boy-meets-artificial intelligence love story ‘HER’ last year, Microsoft designers came up with the question: How can human emotions inspire new interactions with technology and each other? They partnered with Motherboard, Warner Brothers Studio and design students in L.A. and NYC for a design experiment where their mission was to explore the impact of emotion on human machine interaction. You can watch the video above, giving you a glimpse of what they learned. “Her” is a love story, first and foremost. It inspired a wide community of designers in surprising ways. We hosted private screenings of the film followed by a 2-day design workshop. We asked one question: How can human emotions inspire new interactions with ...

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