In the latest episode of On The Verge, our own Joshua Topolsky toured Microsoft Research to survey the company's latest inventions, and we've got some extra footage from the trip. Josh got a look at a bunch of crazy stuff — including wacky augmented reality on tablets, a spooky anechoic chamber, and 3D prototype printing. Did he catch the elusive Steve Ballmer? You'll just have to watch.
Dec 28, 2011
Microsoft's working on some wild technology in its Redmond labs, and our own Joshua Topolsky recently toured the facilities to see the latest innovations. Today we're pleased to share our final segment — it's a mind-bending look at a suite of technologies that Microsoft is developing in order to create a holodeck-like experience.Read Article >
Stevie Bathiche, director of research at Microsoft's applied sciences lab, says to "imagine a day where in your home, one wall is dedicated to being your magic wall. A wall where it can teleport you to another world without really going anywhere." Bathiche shows off a number of systems that aim to accomplish this vision, including a system that projects LED light to detect a human being's movements in space, and a glasses-free stereoscopic display that can be "steered" by the viewer as they move.
Dec 27, 2011
In this clip, Microsoft's Harald Becker walks Josh through the lab, showing off a number of devices and concepts. Most notably, Becker shares a future vision for the Office suite — it's got a slick, free-flowing interface on a futuristic looking computer with numerous touchscreen monitors. With the exception of Microsoft's Segoe UI typeface and some Metro UI elements, the concept is a far cry from anything Microsoft's got on the market right now. Becker says you should "think of this as a concept car type approach," so we're not looking at final products.Read Article >
It's a great glimpse inside the innovative minds at Microsoft, so check it out. Also be sure to catch our latest episode of On The Verge to see Josh's extended tour of Microsoft research.
Dec 21, 2011
Kinect Fusion is a system that uses the Kinect's sensors to create an interactive, real-time 3D model of the environment — the demonstration shows virtual balls bouncing around on the objects captured and rendered directly from the real world. (It's not the first time we've seen the Kinect used for 3D modeling, but it's nice to see an official effort.) Microsoft's Kevin Schofield is quick to point out that the $150 Kinect sensor can accomplish the same tasks as industrial versions of the technology that cost about $50,000.Read Article >
Lightspace works in the opposite direction: with a combination of depth cameras and projectors, it can create linked interactive screens on different surfaces. In the video, principal researcher Andy Wilson demonstrates how objects projected on a table can be moved around, re-sized, and even carried to another display using his hands. It's something you have to see to really understand, so fire up that video.
Dec 20, 2011
In last week's episode of On The Verge, our own Josh Topolsky visited Microsoft labs to scope out the facilities and see what the gang in Redmond is up to — we're now able to give you an extended look at Microsoft's model shop, where hardware prototypes for keyboards and other devices are designed and printed in 3D. Karsten Aagaard, user experience designer, says that the team tries to print 3D prototypes in "real-time" so that designers can work rapidly. If a prototype design is submitted at 5PM, the team endeavors to have them printed by the time the designers return the following morning.Read Article >
Using various UV cured liquid epoxies, the printer is able create items with multiple parts: in the video, Aagaard shows off a working wrench and chain which emerged from the 3D printer fully assembled and functional. It's able to do this by printing a different "support material" next to the prototype's body in order to hold it in place until the support materials can be removed (similar in concept to the familiar process of tracing a pencil-drawn outline, and then erasing the original marks). The team can then insert electronics inside the printed prototypes to test their functionality.