microsoft research

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 has just released a life logger app titled Time of My Life into the Windows Phone Store. The app basically tracks where you spend your time most, and based on your GPS coordinates and known locations it will tell you how much time you're spending at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop, lounging at home, or hard at work.

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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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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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