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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Topic: techfest

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March 18, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Microsoft releases new version of Kinect for Windows SDK

Kinect Fusion, one of the features of the new version of the Kinect for Windows SDK, allows developers to use a Kinect sensor around a person or object to scan and create a 3-D rendering. (Photo from Microsoft) Microsoft is releasing today a new version of its Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK). In the recent…

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: kinect, kinect for windows, kinect fusion

March 6, 2013 at 10:41 AM

From Kinect 3-D scanning to big data mapping, Microsoft researchers give glimpse of company’s future

[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times March 6, 2013.] From a smartphone app capable of capturing 3-D scans to interactive whiteboards to a browser-based program allowing users to build a predictive model in minutes, the preview Tuesday of Microsoft’s TechFest 2013 was full of cool stuff. But the demos were…

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: 3-d, big data, kinect

March 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Microsoft TechFest offers glimpse at future of computing

Microsoft Researcher Xiang Cao displays an avatar he created using Body Avatar, which lets users create 3-D avatars  using a Kinect sensor and their own body as the starting point for the avatar's shape. (Photo by Janet I. Tu / The Seattle Times)

Microsoft Researcher Xiang Cao displays an avatar he created using Body Avatar, which lets users create 3-D avatars using a Kinect sensor and their own body as the starting point for the avatar’s shape. (Photo by Janet I. Tu / The Seattle Times)

From a smartphone app capable of capturing detailed 3-D scans to interactive whiteboards to a program capable of visualizing in several ways how a social media message goes viral, Microsoft’s TechFest 2013 was certainly full of cool stuff.

TechFest is the company’s annual science fair in which its advanced researchers show demos of what they’re working on. Today, a small portion of the approximately 150 demos are being shown to media, customers and partners. Wednesday and Thursday, TechFest will be open to Microsoft employees.

More than just cool stuff, though, the demos — or at least the small portion shown in the preview today — brought into focus some research areas Microsoft has been working on for several years now: natural user interface (NUI) — meaning interacting with computing devices using touch, speech or gestures;  big data — synthesizing and making useful large amounts of information; and machine learning — the ability of computers to learn.

What came through at this TechFest is how those three areas often work together and also how “all these technologies are coming to maturity — both at Microsoft and in the industry at large,” said Steve Clayton, who writes about Microsoft Research for the company.

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: microsoft research, techfest