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Posted by Rob Knies
Over the last few months, I’ve published a series of feature stories to outline the contributions Microsoft Research has made to the groundbreaking Kinect for Xbox 360 product, which Guinness World Records has dubbed the fastest-selling consumer electronic device ever. This week, the Kinect team is marking the one-year anniversary of Kinect. With that in mind, I offer this video, which provides a valuable overview of the research behind Kinect, featuring research personnel from around the world: Ivan Tashev from Microsoft Research Redmond, Baining Guo from Microsoft Research Asia, Jamie Shotton and Andrew Fitzgibbon from Microsoft Research Cambridge, and Oliver Williams from Microsoft Research Silicon Valley. And Alex Kipman, general manager for Incubation for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, provides a product-group perspective on the contributions.For more detail, you can take a look at our feature stories, the latest of which was published just yesterday:
Can you remember details about what you were doing 10 years ago? Ken Hinckley certainly can.In 2001, he and co-authors Jeff Pierce, Mike Sinclair, and Eric Horvitz, had a paper called Sensing Techniques for Mobile Interaction accepted for the 13th annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST). In fact, the paper won the conference’s Best Paper Award that year.That alone would make it memorable, but the stream of research leading to the paper and publication gained current acclaim last month, when, during UIST 2011, the paper received the Lasting Impact Award, for papers at least 10 years old that have been the most influential since publication.
It’s always interesting to put new technology into the hands of university students and see what they can devise, and such was precisely the case during the Student Innovation Contest, held in conjunction with the Association for Computing Machinery’s 24th annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), held Oct. 16-19 in Santa Barbara, Calif.Thirty groups participated in the contest, for which Microsoft Hardware, Microsoft Research, and Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group supplied each student with a Microsoft Touch Mouse, customized specially for the contest, and exclusive access to the publicly available Touch Mouse API, to gain visibility to the real-time sensor information from the touch sensor on the mouse.
Congratulations to Georges Gonthier, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, for winning the 2011 EADS Foundation Grand Prize in Computer Science.Gonthier, who spends a significant amount of his time collaborating with French researchers from INRIA at the Microsoft Research-INRIA Joint Centre, accepted the award, presented by France’s Académie des sciences, in Paris on Nov. 22 at the Institut de France. The honor was in recognition of his achievement as a researcher in a French laboratory who has made exceptional contributions to the vitality and influence of computer-science research while building outstanding cooperation with industry.In the week before the awards ceremony, I got a chance to interview Gonthier about the award—and about his life’s work. Please see the Q&A posted on the Microsoft Research website.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with HoloDesk, research from the Sensors and Devices team at Microsoft Research Cambridge that my colleague Steve Clayton posted on the Next at Microsoft blog a few weeks ago. The work took the tech community by storm, with the HoloDesk video having received more than a million views thus far.HoloDesk uses a Kinect depth camera to enable the manipulation of virtual, 3-D objects with your hands. It remains a research project at this stage, but the potential to make our interactions with computers more natural is staggering, which is what has people all abuzz—even in the absence of many details. To rectify that absence, I reached out to Otmar Hilliges of the team that produced the technology to fill in a few of the gaps.“We’re using a regular LCD screen to render perspective graphics that are reflected off a semi-silvered mirror,” he responded, referring to a semi-opaque mirror that partially reflects an image from the front and allows an image to shine through from behind. “The user looks through the semi-silvered mirror so that the scene behind the mirror and the reflected graphics appear combined.”