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Posted by Rob Knies
Making a business presentation can be daunting. Interaction with the audience might require you to change the flow of your presentation by jumping to a different section in your PowerPoint presentation. Or you might want to show supporting evidence in an Excel or Word document. Either you’ve faced these challenges or you’ve seen somebody else address them, but you know the drill.With Office Remote, a collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Office engineering team, you can manage such modern presentation flows from the palm of your hand.“Office Remote turns your phone into a smart remote that interacts with Microsoft Office on your PC,” says Bert Van Hoof, an Office group program manager. “The app lets you control Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from across the room so you can walk around freely during presentations.”
Posted by Peter Lee, managing director of Microsoft Research Redmond
The last in a series of posts from the directors of Microsoft Research’s labs worldwide, this one from Peter Lee of Microsoft Research Redmond.Given that this was my first full calendar year at the Redmond lab of Microsoft Research, it took quite an effort to comprehend fully the breathtaking scope of ideas and projects carried out by the lab’s more than 300 researchers and engineers. What a hoot! It’s a great pleasure now to reflect a bit on the past year.
You’ve no doubt experienced that sinking feeling—we all have—after taking a photo and realizing that you pressed the shutter release just a bit too late. The moment is gone, the action elusive, the opportunity squandered. It’s frustrating, but what can you do?What you can do is download BLINK.BLINK is a brand-new photo-capturing app for Windows Phone 8. The app captures a burst of images beginning before you even press the camera shutter and continuing for about a second. It doesn’t matter whether your shutter finger is a touch too early or a tad too late. Once BLINK has collected the series of images, you simply swipe your finger across the film strip at the bottom of your screen to select the best version.
Imagine that you got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask a question to Bill Gates. What would that be? Would you ask about health care? Software? Education? Philanthropy?For several people, that’s exactly what happened July 15 in the opening keynotes of Microsoft Research’s 14th annual Faculty Summit, and all those topics were addressed—and more.More than 400 academic researchers from around the world got a rare opportunity to hear Gates, chairman of Microsoft, discuss a wide variety of topics, including all of the above, during a freewheeling session lasting more than an hour, most of which was spent answering questions from the assembled academics. He kept the audience enthralled, fielding the inquiries with thoughtful responses both illuminating and intriguing.
Sign language is the primary language for many deaf and hard-of-hearing people. But it currently is not possible for these people to interact with computers using their native language.Because of this, researchers in recent years have spent lots of time studying the challenges of sign-language recognition, because not everyone understands sign language, and human sign-language translators are not always available. The researchers have examined the potential of input sensors such as data gloves or special cameras. The former, though, while providing good recognition performance, are inconvenient to wear and have proven too expensive for mass use. And web cameras or stereo cameras, while accurate and fast at hand tracking, struggle to cope with issues such as tricky real-world backgrounds or illumination when not under controlled conditions.Then along came a device called the Kinect. Researchers from Microsoft Research Asia have collaborated with colleagues from the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to explore how Kinect’s body-tracking abilities can be applied to the problem of sign-language recognition. Results have been encouraging in enabling people whose primary language is sign language to interact more naturally with their computers, in much the same way that speech recognition does.