Posted by Rob Knies

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TechFest 2013 began promptly at 9 a.m. March 5 in the Kodiak Room of the Microsoft Conference Center with a keynote address by Rick Rashid, Microsoft chief research officer and head of Microsoft Research.

Rashid discussed the present-day shift toward more intelligent technology, enabled by a wealth of data, de vices, and services.

The keynote also featured a pair of demonstrations of TechFest projects:

Telling Stories with Data via Freeform Sketching: Bongshin Lee of Microsoft Research Redmond previewed SketchInsight, a tool central to the project. The tool uses text recognition, gesture recognition, and pen-and touch displays to create a smart whiteboard. When a person sketches a chart or a diagram, SketchInsight pulls information from an existing data set, determines what the goal is, and retrieves the data to complete the drawing.
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GeoFlow for Excel 2013: This project, presented by Curtis Wong of Microsoft Research Redmond, brings high-performance, interactive, 3-D spatial-temporal data visualization to Excel, enabling information workers to find and share insights from geographic and time data via the use of rich, 3-D storytelling and cinematic guided tours.

Check the video for the full presentation.