microsoft research

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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If you are a fan of the cosmos, than you should be well aware of Microsoft Research’s WorldWide Telescope computing program. WorldWide Telescope allows users to fly through the known universe as astronomical sky maps and a 3D modeled environment is rendered. Originally announced at a 2008 TED Conference in California, the application still continues to be listed as “beta”, but has attracted over 1.5 million active users.

Today, as a celebration of the software’s fifth anniversary, WorldWide Telescope version 5.0 is now available to download for anyone dreaming of space exploration. The new release itself is also a new milestone and includes new features and datasets to enhance the user experience.

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Developed by Microsoft Research FUSE Labs, Socl — pronounced social — lets you create, collect, and share stuff you love. From rich visual collages to short animated media and memes, Socl gives you a creative outlet through posts that take seconds to create, collect, and share on Socl, as well as other social networks.

Microsoft Research has just released the companion app for Socl for Windows Phone. Prior to this release, the Socl website was the only way to post or share content from your mobile device.

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Microsoft is taking its Kinect technology to a whole new level. We've already looked at how the company is attempting to integrate its product into retail, but Microsoft Research is also tapping into sign language. Numerous videos have been released showing off how the Kinect Sign Language Translator is able to interpret sign language and translate it.

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Although we now have an official SpeedTest.net app for Windows Phone, after what seemed like an eternity of not having one, options are still good for users and we like today’s new offering.

The app comes by way of Microsoft Research and is simply called ‘Network Speed Test’ designed for Windows Phone 8 devices. The app is straightforward and very clean looking, with the user having to merely tap “Start Test” to let the now familiar process begin. Users are then presented with upload/download speeds, latency (network delay), max jitter and packet loss. Other network information is also provided by sliding over, as well as user history.

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BLINK is a fun little camera app that came out of a summer project at Microsoft Research. It was demonstrated during the lead up to the release of Windows Phone 8 and was eventually released to the Store, receiving numerous updates over the past few months to improve things.

Today, version 2.0 has landed bringing with it a bunch of new features and new functionality. In short, it has basically become a ‘cinemagraph’ app now in addition to being able to grab the “perfect shot” as before.

Head past the break for the full change log and our quick video hands on for a tour of the new features!

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Today Microsoft released the Bing Translator App for Windows 8. Just like the Translation application on your Windows Phone, you can now easily convert between 40 different languages using your PC.

Bing Translator app is based on years of Microosft Research and advanced machine learning. The application can translate text, visual images, and content you find on the web. Simply type in what you would like translated, point the tablet’s camera for an augmented experience, or use Windows 8’s share charm to translate content anywhere on your PC.

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Want to experience beautiful awe inducing views of Mount Everest on your PC or Tablet? Now you can, thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with GlacierWorks. The newly launched HTML5 based site allows viewers to see the changes Mount Everest and the greater Himalayan regions have faced over the last 86 years. There is no better day to launch the project than today, the 60th anniversary of the historic first ascent to the summit of Everest.

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At TechFair 2013 in Washington D.C., Microsoft showed off an abundance of high-tech projects; the company states that the technology being designed by its research division, allows a glimpse into the future of technology. World class scientists working on the Redmond campus showed off how they could be an asset to some of society’s biggest challenges.

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Tomorrow is the announcement for Microsoft’s next-generation console, the successor of the company’s world famous Xbox 360. The boys up in Redmond have been secretive about their new entertainment beast (most likely using the Cone of Silence in meetings), but a few rumors have slipped through allowing us to take a shot at what we might expect tomorrow on stage.

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Microsoft Research is both an amazing establishment and frustrating one. It’s amazing because of the work they do - the future of technology being built today! It’s frustrating though because it can take years before we see the effects of such projects in commercial applications. With that understanding, it’s curious to see what Bing Now brings to the table.

Bing Now is a demonstration app by Microsoft Research that utilizes your phone’s microphones to gauge how crowded a particular restaurant or bar is at the moment. The idea behind it is that a user will check-in via Foursquare and during that process, a 6-10 seconds audio clip is recorded and analyzed for information. With 80% accuracy, the Bing Now app was able to predictably estimate the amount of people at the establishment and more. Users can also listen to the sample on their phones to hear it themselves.

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Are you an avid movie buff, or a hardcore gamer? Do you own a HDTV and enjoy a high definition experience? Microsoft Research aims to further enhance your visual pleasure when watching the screen with IllumiRoom - a concept that uses peripheral projected illusions for interactive experiences. Forget 3D glasses, this involves subtle projections without any potential eye-strain.

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Anyone who makes use of GPS functionality on a smartphone understands the impact such connectivity has on the limited battery supply that's packed inside the device. Unfortunately, we're not quite at the stage where 10,000mAh batteries are utilised, so Microsoft Research has been working on a cloud-powered GPS chip that will reportedly slash battery consumption on smartphones.

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Project Emporia. We’re guessing many of you have not heard of it but some of you seasoned vets surely have. It was one of Microsoft’s many research projects into social, news, cloud computing and other areas of "new media" interest.  But being a research project is just that and it entails a finite end.

Such is the case with Project Emporia, which was an interesting news app for locating stories that pertain to your interest. Think of services like Zite. It had a dedicated audience on Windows Phone and even had a few updates here and there but as of today, it has come to an end...

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For those of you who like the Microsoft Research branded Face Swap and Face Mask you'll want to pick up v1.1 which just went live.

The popular Face Swap app allows you to take a photo with two people and then switch their faces. The app uses a sophisticated face recognition algorithm to accurately and seamlessly swap faces between your two victims, giving a bizarre and creepy effect. Likewise, Face Mask does the same but with goofy cartoon effects, making your victim look exceptionally silly.

Both apps got bumped to version 1.1 and finally fix the link to "other" Face Party apps (before it read "coming soon") and also addresses a common crash when there were too many photos within the app. No other changes are noted, but we can't complain for what are two of the most fun and free apps around. Grab it Face Swap here in the Marketplace and Face Mask here.

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Microsoft Research releases Face Mask

Just a couple days after releasing Face Swap, Microsoft Research is at it again with Face Mask.  Where Face Swap used facial recognition to let you move mugs between bodies, this new app adds humorous features people's faces.  Choose between 20 different masks, rotate or resize them, then make your friends look ridiculous.  Face Mask can identify multiple faces in a snapshot and can randomize masks between them simply by shaking your phone.  Pictures can be saved to the People Hub, as well as shared via Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.

Like its sister app, Face Swap, Face Mask is free.  You can get it here.  Also, if you enjoy this app, check out Funny Faces too. Thanks for the tip, Shadi!

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