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 ...

Read More →

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, ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

At the Recode Code Conference in Palos Verdes, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took stage to talk about Microsoft. During the interview, Microsoft demonstrated a breakthrough technology called Skype Translator. Nadella conducted a conversation with Skype chief Gurdeep Singh Pall, who was speaking German, while Skype provided real-time translation of the German into English and vice versa. Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition. Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research. We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in ...

Read More →

  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 ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

Microsoft revealed Cortana digital assistant for Windows Phone devices at BUILD developer conference. During a Reddit session, Joe hinted that Cortana may come to Windows devices too. As Microsoft has intentionally built Cortana to scale out to all the different domains, the goal is to support all types of human interaction—whether it’s speech, text, or gestures—across domains of information and function and make it as easy as a natural conversation. So, we can expect Cortana on Windows in the future. A recent Microsoft job listing has confirmed the same. It says that they need people to help them redefine the personalization experience on Windows using Cortana. Do you want to be part of the team that is building the next generation of Cortana? We are looking for strong and motivated developers to help shape the Evolution of the next generation of Microsoft’s Digital Assistant – Cortana! The landscape of digital ...

Read More →

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. ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

I came across few interesting patents from Microsoft that got published by the USPTO recently. Below are the some of them with their abstract content. BATTERY WITH COMPUTING, SENSING AND COMMUNICATION CAPABILTIES Electrical battery apparatus embodiments are presented that generally involve incorporating sensing, computing, and communication capabilities into the one common component that a vast number of electronic devices employ–namely batteries. By integrating these capabilities into disposable and/or rechargeable batteries, new functionality and intelligence can be provided to otherwise stand-alone devices. POWER SAVING WI-FI TETHERING The techniques discussed herein reduce the power consumption of a Wi-Fi tethering device by switching the Wi-Fi functionality of the Wi-Fi tethering device from a normal operational mode to a sleep mode during idle intervals. The techniques implement a sleep protocol where a Wi-Fi tethering device and the Wi-Fi client device coordinate and establish a sleep schedule. Moreover, the techniques describe a sleep interval adaptation ...

Read More →

  Microsoft Research head Peter Lee spoke to Digital Trends and he discussed about the ongoing projects at MSR, people’s perception about Google X and more. Microsoft Research has 1,100 computer scientists, researchers, and engineers in labs all around the world and combining them with over 1,200 PhD student interns every year, it is one of the largest research organization in the world. When Peter was asked whether he is frustrated by the tech press focusing on Google X than MSR’s work, “Frustrating is not quite the right word,” Lee told Digital Trends, in an interview ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for MSR’s New York City office. “I like Google X. The people there are good friends of mine. Astro [Teller, “Captain of Moonshots” with Google X] took classes from me at Carnegie Mellon, he’s a great guy doing great stuff. But the missions are different. We want to make things better and ship them. ...

Read More →

In addition to the project on mechanical keyboards that can detect gestures, Microsoft Research has also demoed another project at ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014 related to new vision based system. This project is called RetroDepth, and this system can accurately sense the 3D silhouettes of hands, styluses, and other objects, as they interact on and above physical surfaces. The main highlight is that it can be setup using cheap and simple methods. We present RetroDepth, a new vision-based system for accurately sensing the 3D silhouettes of hands, styluses, and other objects, as they interact on and above physical surfaces. Our setup is simple, cheap, and easily reproducible, comprising of two infrared cameras, diffuse infrared LEDs, and any off-the-shelf retro-reflective material. The retro-reflector aids image segmentation, creating a strong contrast between the surface and any object in proximity. A new highly efficient stereo matching algorithm ...

Read More →

The 2dn gen Microsoft Surface Touch Covers already supports gesture in them. But, you have to perform the gestures on the keyboard. This new project from Microsoft Research will allow you to perform gestures over the keyboard without even touching them. Such user experience is enabled by low-resolution matrix of infrared (IR) proximity sensors between the keys of the mechanical keyboard. Watch the video demo above. We present a new type of augmented mechanical keyboard, sensing rich and expressive motion gestures performed both on and directly above the device. A low-resolution matrix of infrared (IR) proximity sensors is interspersed with the keys of a regular mechanical keyboard. This results in coarse but high frame-rate motion data. We extend a machine learning algorithm, traditionally used for static classification only, to robustly support dynamic, temporal gestures. We propose the use of motion signatures a technique that utilizes pairs of motion history images and a random ...

Read More →