Review Category : Research

Longtime Microsoft Research executive Kevin Schofield has announced that he is moving away from MSR to some other new role at Microsoft.  Kevin Schofield is currently General Manager and Chief Operations Officer for Microsoft Research, he joined Microsoft in 1988, and has worked in Microsoft Research since 1997. His organization drives consensus on technical strategy and priorities for Microsoft’s research efforts, and coordinates business affairs and operations for the division. He is also responsible for developing Microsoft Research’s relationships with customers, press, analysts, and Microsoft’s own product groups. Geekwire reported about his change in job this morning as Kevin updated his Facebook profile as follows, “I love MSR and the direction it’s going in, and part of me is sad to be leaving, but I’d also been there a long, long time and it’s probably good for me to exercise some different muscles. … I’m good, MSR is good, we’re all good, ...

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Microsoft today announced the general availability of Power BI for Office 365. Power BI for Office 365 is a self-service business intelligence solution designed for everyone. Power BI empowers all kinds of business users to find relevant information, pull data from Windows Azure and other sources, and prepare compelling business intelligence models for analysis, visualization, and collaboration. With this release, we are delivering completely new experiences to customers. For example, Power Query in Excel allows you to easily search and access data within your organization or from publically available sources. In addition once you upload your Excel workbooks to Power BI, you can ask questions of your data using natural language search and instantly receive answers in the form of interactive charts or graphs. Power BI will be added to the list of features that Google Apps and other productivity suite customers will never experience in the near future. Office ...

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Last year, Microsoft Research revealed that they are working on an unconventional approach to power a datacenter entirely by fuel cells integrated directly into the server racks. Today, they announced that they have successfully demonstrated the concept at the National Fuel Cell Research Center at UC Irvine. A rack of servers powered directly off the direct current (DC) output of the fuel cell stack, essentially stripping out most of the infrastructure found in the traditional data center energy supply chain. As a result, you will have a very efficient system with a radically simplified supply chain and fewer points of potential failure. But aren’t fuel cells much more expensive than conventional generation technology?  On a pure levelized cost of energy (LCOE) basis, an off-the-shelf fuel cell system will not be cost competitive with conventional generation. In other words, the cost of electrons coming out of the conventional power plant will ...

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Microsoft Research has announced its latest project called Seattle Gigapixel ArtZoom in which you can explore Seattle and its art in a never before seen view. It uses well known Microsoft technologies Photosynth and ICE(Image Composite Editor) to deliver this experience. You can read the process in which this project was built below, We first sought out the perfect rooftop location from which to shoot such a panorama. We were lucky enough to find the Bay Vista condominium building, and thanks to the gracious owners, get access to amazing 360-degree views that include the Seattle Center, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and Seattle’s stadiums, as well Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and Lake Union. We also discussed the project with John Boylan, who has deep roots in the Seattle art scene. He helped us attract great interest from the arts community to come out and help create this celebration of the arts ...

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Last night, Google revealed their latest Google[x] project called Smart Contact Lens. This smart contact lens is built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. Google is already testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second which will serve as an early warning for the wearer. Also, Google is exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. The media went crazy about this new project in a way that Google invented this whole new concept, but it is not the case. The project was originally started by researchers from the University of Washington (UW) and it was a Microsoft Research Connections-funded project supporting advanced technology research. Babak Parviz, then researcher at UW(now a Google employee), and Desney ...

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Microsoft Research today released Socl apps for iOS and Android devices along with Windows Phone devices. Socl offers a set of simple, fun “create experiences” that make it even easier to express and share ideas with people worldwide – from rich visual collages to short animated media and memes, there’s even more ways to create, collect and share stuff you love – on Socl, and other social networks. Description: Socl — pronounced social — lets you create, collect and share stuff you love. From rich visual collages to short animated media and memes, express yourself through posts that take seconds to create, collect and share on Socl, as well as Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. Features • Create beautiful collages and funny memes in seconds. • Share your creations on Socl, as well as your other favorite social networks. • Create visual responses (“riffs”) to existing content. • Snap a ...

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Kodu is a free game development tool originally released by Microsoft Research team targeting kids to learn game development and programming. Now, Microsoft Studios has released this app for Windows 8/RT devices for free in Windows Store. If you have kids at home, then this is a must have game for them. Description: Kodu lets you create games through a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game with no design or programming skills. Features: Kodu is a rich tool for narrative creation and storytelling Kodu demonstrates that programming is a creative medium Kodu helps children with critical thinking, breaking a complex goal into manageable steps, and iterate on the design process Kodu introduces the logic and problem solving of programming Kodu introduces conditions and sequences, which teaches cause and effect Kodu ...

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We rarely happen to see Microsoft and Google working on something together. Last time, we saw them together to for patent issues and then for PRISM spying scandal. Today, Dailymail reported that Google has agreed to block child porn related links from its search results. Google will now prevent depraved images and videos from appearing on its search results, and they will expand this blockage to 156 other languages in 6 months. ‘We’ve fine-tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results.’ Microsoft will also make similar restrictions on its Bing search engine. While Microsoft will be providing the technology called PhotoDNA that will allow officials to automatically find child porn images across the web, Google has developed breakthrough technology that will allow illegal videos to be ‘tagged’ so that all duplicate copies can be removed across the internet. Good job by both Microsoft ...

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  Microsoft today announced two new roles for their senior leaders Eric Rudder and Harry Shum. Eric Rudder who was heading Advanced Strategy & Research group will become Executive Vice President, Advanced Strategy and Harry Shum who was leading Bing engineering team will become Executive Vice President, Technology & Research. Both of them will report directly to Steve Ballmer starting mid-December. Read the full email below. From: Steve Ballmer To: Microsoft – All Employees Date: Nov. 13, 2013 Subject: New Roles for Eric Rudder and Harry Shum Today, I’m excited to announce new roles for Eric Rudder and Harry Shum. Eric will take on a newly created role as Executive Vice President, Advanced Strategy, and Harry will take on Eric’s current responsibilities as Executive Vice President, Technology & Research. Both Eric and Harry will report to me and both changes take effect in mid-December. Eric has led our Advanced Strategy ...

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We have seen many projects from Microsoft Research around Artificial Intelligence in the past. Today, Long Zheng posted a old video in which Eric Horvitz, the co-director of Microsoft Research Redmond and a distinguished scientist in the field of artificial intelligence at TEDxAustin spoke about Microsoft’s work in Artificial Intelligence. He spoke about Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, Distinguished Scientist and co-director at Microsoft Research, Eric Horvitz, shares the human side of advancing machine intelligence. An admitted advocate for empowering machines to perform more fluidly with us, he explains how computational systems will complement human cognition in order to anticipate our needs and help us prepare for inevitable surprises of all scale and size In nurturing and supportive ways. When Readwrite profiled Peter Lee, the corporate vice president for Microsoft Research, he spoke about MSR’s short term and long term goals. He said the following about Disruptive (Also Known As “Moon Shots”) work ...

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Microsoft Research today posted the above video which shows how Kinect’s sign language translation capabilities help the hearing and the deaf communicate. You can communicate between American sign language and Chinese sign language or potentially any sign languages to any other natural languages. Kinect detects the sign language and converts into natural spoken language. There is a avatar in the system to represent the hearing person doing the signing. It’s a proxy for the hearing person. It basically uses machine language and pattern recognition to achieve this results. This project has a huge potential. Watch the video above. Read more from http://research.microsoft.com/ ...

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  As expected, Microsoft is already exploring the ways to navigate Windows using Kinect gestures. Even though Kinect had a official Windows SDK for a longtime, Microsoft never showed off a way to navigate Windows using air gestures. Today, The Verge revealed that Microsoft Research is already exploring the potential use of it. In this project, you will be mounting a Kinect camera above a desk and it detects a number of gestures above and around a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft Researcher Abigail Sellen says the following, “What we don’t want here is Tom Cruise in minority report,” “What gestures are good at are being very casual, expressive. What they’re not good at is being precise. Touch is good at that, mouse pointer is good at that. We don’t need to do that with gestures.” “We’re not doing anything precise, and nothing that requires you to hold your hands up ...

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We heard about Microsoft’s IllumiRoom project back at CES and since then there were reports that Microsoft is planning to release it as a consumer device as part of Xbox offering in 2014. Speaking to Ausgamer, Albert Penello, head of product planning for Xbox One revealed that IllumiRoom is not coming anytime soon. “I wouldn’t expect you’ll see that,” Penello said. “It’s very, very cool tech but it’s, like, for a consumer, it requires projectors and things. It’s really super-neat if you’re in the lab and you’ve got Microsoft money and you could totally set up this awesome lab, but… we looked at it, but for an average customer it’s, like, thousands of dollars [for the set up].” Some info about IllumiRoom, IllumiRoom uses a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our ...

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Speaking at Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that Microsoft Bob-style personal assistants may re-emerge with more sophistication. We have already seen arrival of such programs in the name of Apple’s Siri, Google Now, etc, which are nothing but modern age Microsoft Bob/Clippy. These programs offer personal assistance by understanding what users are doing and anticipating their needs. Here is the transcript of Bill’s answer to the question related to it at the event. He explained, “It’s been talked about for decades, and now really is possible — where we see where you’re going, we see your calendar, we see your various communications. … We can actually look at the text, look at the speech, try to be helpful to you in your activities. I think we will be more connected and therefore if somebody wants to do a task like find a gift of a certain ...

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  Microsoft Research has released a new SDK/Framework called Lab of Things that supports their existing HomeOS project. Here is the description about HomeOS from Microsoft Research. To simplify the management of technology and to simplify the development of applications in the home, we are developing an “operating system” for the home. HomeOS provides a centralized, holistic control of devices in the home. It provides to users intuitive controls to manage their devices. It provided to developers high-level abstractions to orchestrate the devices in the home. HomeOS is coupled with a HomeStore through which users can easily add obtain applications that are compatible with devices in their homes and obtain any additional devices that are needed to enable desired applications. So what is Lab of Things (LoT) and how it is related to HomeOS? Lab of Things (LoT) is a flexible platform for experimental research that uses connected devices in homes. LoT enables easy interconnection ...

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Microsoft Research today released a new app called BLINK Cliplets for Windows 8/RT devices in Windows Store. This new BLINK Cliplets app  lets you combine and loop static and dynamic elements from short video clips. The resulting Cliplets can range from artistic to ingenious to outlandish. Description: BLINK Cliplets lets you exercise your creative talents by layering static and dynamic visual elements. Create fun and surprising results that you can share with friends or the world. Import or record short videos, and choose which parts to animate and which parts to freeze. You can then share your cliplet on Facebook, Twitter, or BLINK.so.cl, or simply save it as an animated GIF or video file. Features: •- Record or import a video •- Use touch or mouse to create animated layers •- Share your cliplet on Facebook, Twitter, or BLINK.so.cl •- Export your cliplet as an animated GIF, MP4 video, or ...

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