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Posted by Rob Knies
Let’s say you’re traveling abroad this summer, planning a trip to Germany perhaps. You’ve got a lot on your itinerary: visits to Munich and Berlin, a cruise down the Rhine, a few tastings of Mosel grapes. It’s all extremely exciting. There’s just one problem.You don’t speak German.That’s OK. Foreign travelers have been braving the translation gap for centuries. But it’s just OK. Negotiating an environment featuring an unfamiliar language is difficult, and for many, a language-related faux pas seems inevitable.Fear no more. Now, with the Bing Translator app for Windows, which became available June 6 in all markets that offer Windows 8, you can translate anywhere within the operating system and start deciphering all those street signs and restaurant menus you’ve been dreading.
You might not be aware of the term “continuous mobile vision,” but I’ll bet there’s a good chance you are aware of one of the scenarios it could enable.Remember the concept, bandied about in recent years, of technology that can remind you of a person’s name once her or his face has been detected? Yeah, that one. I’m sure that most of us could make use of it once in a while.The problem, though, is that image sensing takes lots of energy. That’s because modern image sensors lack energy proportionality. They’re power-hungry. That’s fine when a high-resolution, high-frame-rate image is desired. But even when you’re not seeking images of that quality, today’s image sensors still consume a lot of power.Someday soon, though, things could change for the better. That’s the premise behind the paper Energy Characterization and Optimization of Image Sensing Toward Continuous Mobile Vision, which has been accepted for presentation during MobiSys 2013, the 11th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications and Services, being held June 25-28 in Taipei, Taiwan.
There’s some cool news over at the Microsoft Translator/Bing Translator team blog: The announcement of new translation features, powered by Microsoft Translator, that now appear in the Twitter app for Windows Phone.The new functionality, announced June 27 during the Build 2013 developers conference being held in San Francisco, enables instant translation of tweets in a different language from that of the user.The translation technology is based on extensive machine-learning advancements from Microsoft Research.
The launch of Windows 8 late last year provided developers with new opportunities to construct paradigm-shifting apps that can stand out in a busy application ecosystem via their ability to capitalize on touchscreen technologies.Such an evolution doesn’t come along too often in the software industry, and developers have responded in a big way. In its first two months, the Windows Store, which came online at the same time Windows 8 was offered for general availability, enticed visitors to download more than 100 million apps. The Windows Phone Store has surpassed 1 billion downloads. And computing usage of Windows Azure has doubled.This new direction for developing and delivering great ideas will gain even more momentum at San Francisco’s Moscone Center from June 26 to 28 when Microsoft hosts Build 2013, a chance for software engineers to witness presentations from the developers who produce the company’s products and services.
The changes wrought by technology in recent years is nothing short of astounding. First, music became digitized. Now, it’s video, in all its forms. That data can be stored, comfortably and effectively, in the cloud. And many of us walk around each day with little computers in our pockets.On these miniature marvels—known commonly, if not completely accurately, as “mobile phones”—we can achieve something humans have dreamed of for decades: the ability to call a loved one and actually see that person as we chat.That’s fantastic, right? Well, as the saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.On June 8, during the Science EXPO Day being held at Seattle Center as part of the Seattle Science Festival, Microsoft Research will be showing a half-dozen technology demonstrations designed to fire the imaginations of youths attending the event. And among them will be one that not only lets you see somebody as you hold a conversation, but also experience their presence in 3-D—while you talk.