• Virtual Haircuts Go Mobile—in 3-D

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Innovation Day 2013 logo

    Three months ago, a post appeared in this space about a SIGGRAPH 2013 paper called Dynamic Hair Manipulation in Images and Videos, written in part by Lvdi Wang of Microsoft Research, along with a few academic collaborators. It was fun, fascinating work that enabled the creation of a 3-D hair model from a single photograph with just a bit of user interaction.

    In reality, this seemingly lighthearted project was based on some extremely challenging graphic manipulations required to present lifelike results. But it was hard to get past the project’s ability to let users take photos of themselves or others and try different, occasionally whimsical, hairstyles on for size.

    On Oct. 30, during Innovation Day 2013 at Microsoft Research Asia, Wang and colleague Fan Yan took things a step further, with a demo called Digital Barber: 3D Hair Manipulation on Mobile Phone.

  • 3-D Scanning Made Tangible for the Masses

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Innovation Day 2013 logo 

    In recent months, 3-D printing has leapt into the popular vernacular. Not that long ago, 3-D printers and the items they produce seemed little more than an unusual plaything for organizational use. Such printers were expensive, difficult to understand, and, for most people, simply inaccessible.

    No longer, though. Such printers have plummeted in price and mushroomed in popularity. The result is that what seemed a distant dream has suddenly become a tantalizing reality. The question for many quickly is morphing from “What could they do?” to “What can I do?”

    On Oct. 30, during Innovation Day 2013 at Microsoft Research Asia, answers to the latter inquiry began to take shape, thanks to a demo called 3-D Scanning with Mobile Devices.

  • Luminaries Series Features Jeannette Wing

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Jeannette Wing

    Jeannette Wing is corporate vice president of Microsoft Research. As such, she oversees Microsoft Research’s core research laboratories around the world—and Microsoft Research Connections.

    That much is true, indisputably. But her personal biography goes so much deeper than that. The above description doesn’t mention her academic career, which included more than 27 years at Carnegie Mellon University, where she served on two occasions as head of the Computer Science Department. It doesn’t include her three years as assistant director of the Computer & Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Nor does that bare-bones bio refer to her fervent belief in the concept of computational thinking.

    Now, though, there is a resource that can provide a deeper, more well-rounded introduction to Wing, her research passions, and her vision for the future. That can be found on Channel 9, beginning Oct. 29, as part of its Microsoft Research Luminaries series.

  • Cardelli Named Royal Society Research Professor

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Luca Cardelli


    On Oct. 29, the Royal Society announced that Microsoft Research’s Luca Cardelli has received a Royal Society Research Professorship. This prestigious post provides long-term support for internationally recognized scientists of outstanding achievement and promise, and previous holders of the professorships include Nobel Laureates and Presidents of the Royal Society. The announcement also includes the University of Oxford, where Cardelli will be spending part of his time.

    He also was in the news recently for his work—along with colleagues from the University of Washington; the University of California, San Francisco; the California Institute of Technology; and Microsoft Research’s Neil Dalchau and Andrew Phillips—in inventing a programming language to build synthetic DNA. After that was published in Nature Nanotechnology, Cardelli found time to respond to a few questions.

  • Bringing TouchDevelop to the Cloud

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Sebastian Burckhardt 

    In this new, cloud-enabled era, users of various devices want—nay, expect—their apps and data to be available everywhere and all the time. The future is here, right, so why not?

    The devil, though, as always, is in the details. And details are exactly what Sebastian Burckhardt is motivated to master.

    Burckhardt, a Microsoft Research scientist with the Research in Software Engineering team, focuses on the study of programming models for concurrent, parallel, and distributed systems. On Oct. 30, he will be discussing Cloud Sessions, a programming abstraction available as a feature in TouchDevelop, a cross-platform app-development environment from Microsoft Research, during SPLASH 2013, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages conference on Systems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity, being held Oct. 26-31 in Indianapolis.