Microsoft Reveals ‘Future Of Computing’

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[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, hosted his fifth TechForum gathering at the company’s Redmond HQ.

Two key themes ran throughout the day, says Microsoft’s Steve Clayton:

  • We can realize profound insights from the combination of big data and machine learning
  • We’re seeing an increased blending of digital and physical

Highlights From The Microsoft Blog Post:

As we interact with devices, social networks and the sensors in our world (think GPS, light, heat, motion) we – as individuals and collectively – are generating massive amounts of data, more than could be processed by a single computer. Though we’re doing a better job of capturing, storing and managing this data, we’re only at the beginning of tapping its true potential.

As we collect more and more data, it also becomes possible to build a digital representation of the real world.

Natural user interface (NUI) capabilities such as gesture, touch, and speech will play a pivotal role in the blending of digital and physical – along with an array of other technologies, including machine learning.

Curious and curiouser

So, what does the future of computing reveal? A quick look at some of the demonstrations:

  • Eric Horvitz demonstrated Lifebrowser, a project that leverages machine learning and reasoning to help people navigate through large stores of their own personal information, appointments, photos, and activities, including their history with searching and browsing on the Web over days, months and years.
  • Kristin Tolle demonstrated Microsoft Translator Hub, a self-service model for building a highly customized automatic translation service between any two languages. These machine translation services are accessible using the Microsoft Translator APIs or a Webpage widget.
  • Steven Bathiche and his Applied Sciences lab team build the “magic window,” combining technology such as Kinect, transparent OLED displays and a technology known as “the wedge.”
  • Andy Wilson of LightSpace demonstrated a project called Holoflector, a unique, interactive augmented-reality mirror. He used the combined abilities of Kinect and Windows Phone to infer the position of a phone and render graphics that seem to hover above it.
  • Sasa Junuzovic’s demonstrated IllumiShare. IllumiShare enables remote people to share any physical or digital object on any surface. It’s a low-cost, peripheral device that looks and lights like a desk lamp, except IllumiShare shares the lighted surface with someone who may be in a remote location.

Every year, Mr. Mundie invites a small group of leading tech journalists and bloggers to share an in-depth look at the company’s strategic and technical vision for the future. It’s also an opportunity to showcase some of Microsoft’s latest ideas and prototypes. This year, Mr. Mundie was also joined by his colleagues Don Mattrick, Qi Lu, Ted Kummert and Rick Rashid.