microsoft research

Skype is one of the most popular forms of communication across mobile platforms and the desktop. Microsoft Research is working on real-time translation functionality to enable consumers to use Skype and engage in conversation with others from around the world. George Takei, better known as Mr Sulu in Star Trek, visited Microsoft Research to see how the technology works.

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A new project being undertaken at Microsoft Research involves turning first person videos into smooth timelapses, which Microsoft calls hyperlapses. Normally, when a first person video is sped up into a timelapse, the footage is shaky due to the constant movement. Microsoft's project aims to fix that by running the video through its algorithms to create a smoother camera path.

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Haptic feedback on handheld devices isn't exactly anything new but the folks at Microsoft Research Asia or more specifically, researcher Hong Tan, found that by adding in haptics to add tactile sensations to screens, users could benefit dramatically.

Tan essentially wants to create sensations that people can experience when interacting with their daily objects. Rather than just touching and looking at your devices, Tan would have you interacting with your devices in new ways and have them touching you back.

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Microsoft's foray into the personal assistant business with Cortana opens up many opportunities including integration with other branches of knowledge. One area that may be unfamiliar to the general public is Microsoft's work with Academic Search (academic.research.microsoft.com), which is a general search tool for finding articles on particular types of inquiry or the people in those science fields. Indeed, Microsoft Research used to have a Windows Phone 7 app to use this service.

Microsoft Research just published a new video where they discuss how Academic Search and Cortana are merging in early 2015. The demonstration was given at the annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit where the presenters asked how they could turn Cortana into a research assistant and it follows upon the revelation of Project Adam, which we detailed yesterday.

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Earlier today, the internets become enraged as Microsoft Research released a new app called Climatology. The app focuses on environmental averages and statistics around the globe culminated from MSR's FetchClimate project, and while interesting, it is not exactly the must-have app for 2014. However, what set people off was the release of the app on the Android OS and not Windows Phone. Immediately plans for a protest against Microsoft were fomenting with online petitions and Twitter campaigns.

The only problem? Microsoft released the app for Windows Phone too.

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Microsoft has made a radical decision to essentially replace the processors used inside servers powering Bing. Codenamed Project Catapult, Doug Burger at Microsoft Research has been working to not physically remove the Intel processors, but rather compliment them with field-programmable arrays (FPGA) processors by Altera. The new components can be modified by the tech giant specifically for use with its own software and tools and handle processing for search.

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Every once in a while, a Microsoft Research app sneaks past our radar. Today that app is ‘Urban Air’ and it’s quite neat, but only if you’re in China.

China, needless to say, has a bit of a pollution problem that can have some deleterious effects on people’s health. Being able to see those alerts and conditions could be vital on how to plan your day. Luckily, you can now download this nifty little app to get a glance at the pollution level at that moment in various locations e.g. home and work. The app came out last month, but it recently had an update.

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Microsoft Research has published a project on its website for a low-cost electric field sensing concept. This allows for a transparent and thin receiver to detect 3D finger and hand tracking, combined with in-air gestures on mobile handsets. It's a cool implementation, which can be utilized in a compact form factor that is resilient to ambient illumination.

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Microsoft Research has posted a report, as well as the video above, about their prototype for a new, gesture-reading, mechanical keyboard. The prototype, built using the keys of an Apple wireless keyboard (oh, irony, sweet sweet irony), uses a low-resolution matrix of infrared sensors placed between the keys to detect gestures, such as swiping and pinch-to-zoom, on the keyboard.

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Microsoft is no stranger to advancing computing technologies, as they’re one of the largest employers of computer science PhDs in the world through their Microsoft Research initiative. Microsoft Research is concerned with evolving today’s technologies to be better, not necessarily inventing new categories. Now, according to All about Microsoft’s Mary Jo Foley, that’s about to change.

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If you don't love Microsoft Research then you don't love ice cream sundaes or anything else good in the world, because who else is busy figuring out how to make Windows Phone scan faces and build 3D models? So what if they call it "Skynet UI", what bad could come of this?! Zhiwei Li, Richard Cai, and Jiawei Gu are even sharing their work on the web, making sci-fi look just a little more real.

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Update: Microsoft has now pulled the page and videos

While there's a lot to love about live tiles in Windows and Windows Phone, there's one element that's been missing: interactivity. Sure, they'll refresh with your latest notifications, but all you can do is tap on them to open the respective app. Microsoft Research is aware of this limitation, and is working actively to supercharge live tiles with interactive elements.

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Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope computing software was released in February of 2008 by the company’s Research division to display astronomical sky maps. Imagery from the software is provided by the Hubble Space Telescope along with a collection of earth-bound telescopes. The idea for the software, which was originally presented at a TED Conference, is now returning to its roots as a recent conference shows the power of WorldWide Telescope coupled with the Oculus Rift.

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Microsoft Research is looking into white space frequencies, that we already know from an exploration venture kicked off by UK telecommunication regulator Ofcom. So what exactly are white spaces? Just in case you're confused thus far, they're essentially parts of the frequency band that aren't actively being used by digital TV or wireless systems. Making use of airwaves that are currently unused would open up new possibilities for a number of applications, which participating organisations are collaborating to work towards perfecting.

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