At the TechForum this week, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie with Interactive Entertainment Business President Don Mattrick, Online Services Division President Qi Lu, Business Platform Division Corporate Vice President Ted Kummert and Chief Research Officer Rick Rashid and others demonstrated how the company is investing in research and exploration of a number of important technologies.
Mundie, describes how technologies today and in the future will enable more natural interactions, enhanced capabilities, make better decisions and help us connect with each other.
Video: TechForum 2012: A New Age of Personal Computing
Holoflector, a project by Microsoft Research's Andy Wilson, "graphics are superimposed on your reflection to enable an augmented-reality experience."
The video below shows how a Kinect can detect a Windows Phone device and then use that device (and its sensors) to interact with objects on the screen. Even more impressive is that the screen is actually an LCD with a mirror in front of it so it can overlay any image on top of the mirror; it's quite hard to describe so it is best to watch the video to gain a better understanding.
IllumiShare, a Microsoft Research project, enables people to remotely share any physical or digital object on any surface. People can sketch together using real ink and paper, remote meeting attendees can interact with conference room whiteboards, and children can have remote play dates in which they play with real toys. Illumishare also integrates Skype video chatting.
IllumiShare enables remote people to share any physical or digital object on any surface. It is a low-cost, peripheral device that looks like a desk lamp, and just like a lamp lights up a surface at which it is pointed, IllumiShare shares a surface.
To do this, IllumiShare uses a camera-projector pair where the camera captures video of the local workspace and sends it to the remote space and the projector projects video of the remote workspace onto the local space.
Behind-the-Screen Overlay Interactions
Demoed by Jinha Lee, an intern for Microsoft Research from MIT Media Lab, utilizes a transparent organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display with view-dependent and depth-corrected gaze to manipulate virtual objects on screen.
Video: Applied Sciences Group: Interactive Displays: Behind the Screen Overlay Interactions
Telepresence Using Wedge Technology
Craig Mundie tests the Microsoft Applied Science Lab's Telepresence Using Wedge Technology, a glassless 3D display that enables correct camera pose and view pose for a live view-dependent 3D Window Telepresence experience.
Machine Translator Hub
Microsoft Translator Custom Edition enables language communities and others to create automatic translation systems. By enabling translation to languages that aren't supported by today's mainstream translation engines, this keeps less widely spoken languages vibrant and in use for future generations.
This Azure based service allows users to upload language data for custom training, and then build and deploy custom translation models. These machine translation services are accessible using the Microsoft Translator APIs or a Webpage widget.
Microsoft Translator Hub empowers language communities, service providers and corporations to create automatic translation systems, allowing speakers of one language to share and access knowledge with speakers of any other language.
By enabling translation to languages that aren't supported by today's mainstream translation engines, this also keeps less widely spoken languages vibrant and in use for future generations.
Video: Microsoft Translator Hub: Translation by Everyone for Everyone
ChronoZoom will enable transitioning effortlessly between scales of one year to billions of years, putting historical episodes in context, comparing vast amounts of time-related data across different fields and disciplines, and more.
Chronozoom brings together numerous types of data about the history of the universe, from today, all the way back to the second 13.7 billion years ago when scientists believe the cosmos came into being. Whether you're looking for information about an event in history or a better understanding of the field of particle physics, Chronozoom provides a central location where you can access this data, work together on projects and get a better understanding of how events from two different fields of study can interrelate.
Chronozoom also provides professors, researchers and students with an interface that's designed around the paradigm of a timeline, making it much easier to navigate and find audio, lectures, schematics and other content that's stored on Windows Azure. There's also a bibliography that directs you to other sources of information.
Video: ChronoZoom: Big History with Big Data
Seeing Display demonstrated by Microsoft Applied Science Lab's Steve Bathiche, the Seeing Display uses flat lenses to see through a semi-transparent organic light-emitting diode (OLED) to enable novel above-screen gesture and scanning interactions.
Lifebrowser leverages machine learning and reasoning to help people navigate through large stores of their appointments, photos and computing activities to infer "memory landmarks" - events and activities that people would find important.
The system builds a timeline around inferred landmarks, and allows users to zoom in on details of the timeline around inferred landmarks with a "volume control." The system also enables users to perform search and retrieval of content in the context of the landmarks.
Viewing Data to Decide
Showcasing a futuristic prototype, Craig Mundie uses a large-scale display to overlay multiple sources of data and information to help him decide the best location to open a new retail shop.
Interactive Entertainment Business' Aaron Greenburg demonstrates a new commercial application of the Kinect for Windows SDK.
Get in the Game
Search for and purchase game or concert tickets direct from the Bing results page.
Kinect Grocery Cart
Microsoft and Whole Foods today at Microsoft's Redmond campus, shown a prototype of a new kind of shopping cart using its Kinect for Windows device.
"With the Kinect device attached, a person can show his or her loyalty card from the store to the motorized cart. The cart then spends its time following the shopper around the aisles while going over the user's shopping list. The cart can scan each item as they are placed inside and then take them off the shopping list. Finally, it can check out the shopper when they are finished. About the only things the cart can't do are take the items from the shelves and then bag them."
Microsoft says that over 300 companies are creating applications and products based on Kinect for Windows.