Microsoft shows off NUI, Kinect-focused research projects

Microsoft shows off NUI, Kinect-focused research projects

Summary: Microsoft Research is showing off publicly more natural-user-interface and Kinect-based projects ahead of the company's annual TechFest research showcase for employees.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft officials held a day-long event on campus on February 27 to show off long-term research projects that build around natural language user interfaces and the company's Kinect sensor.

At that event, known as TechForum, the Softies demonstrated everything from a Kinect-powered shopping cart (a project developed by Chaotic Moon and pioneered by Whole Foods), to a see-through desktop also using the Kinect sensor.

Here's Microsoft's video with more on how these new interactive displays work:

Company officials are posting videos with short demonstrations of some of the TechForum projects on The Next at Microsoft blog.

While Kinect and NUI demos have all the glitz, I think the ChronoZoom project -- which originally was built with Microsoft's SeaDragon "DeepZoom" technology and is now an HTML5-based app hosted on Windows Azure -- is equally interesting.  Microsoft and its university partners on the project are planning to launch on March 14 (Albert Einstein's birthday). ChronoZoom is about making huge amounts of "big history" data available in an interactive timeline form.

TechForum was an event for a group of select media. Microsoft is holding a similar event to which it is inviting select guests, its TechFest preview, on March 6. From the agenda, it looks like NUI technology also will be a big theme there. There also will be talks on the future of privacy in social media and machine learning and intelligence.

The day after the TechFest preview, Microsoft will hold its annual TechFest research showcase for employees. At past TechFests, various Microsoft Research teams have exhibited some of their latest projects, hoping to attract product group suitors which are interested in bringing them under their wings to take them commercial.

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Avatar Display

    Movies like Avatar always encouraged me to stay in computers , Hoping one day the technology will rise to the level displayed in movies. Now what Microsoft is doing with Kinect is the future and i cant wait to be part of such a wonderful thing.

    Imagine walking in my living room moving objects and windows :)
  • Microsoft shows off NUI, Kinect-focused research projects

    Microsoft definitely puts a lot of thought into their research and this project does look pretty cool. The only thing I would be concerned about is posture. I wouldn't want to hunch over to use it which could lead to back problems.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Bad Hardware Design

    If the screen was a pair of glasses like Google's ( HUD this interface would be so much more usable. The limited space that the user can move their arms would create fatigue quickly.
    • So you think...

      ...that the people who really got the ergonomic keyboard moving are the people trying to kill ergonomics? Why is it that I think the billions of dollars of research Microsoft puts into things like ergonomics probably trumps your opinion?
  • Definitely a Research project

    That looks really awkward, poking your arms through the gap below the monitor and then twisting to reach upwards! Cool research, though, look forward to seeing what it's like when it's ready for the real world.
    • Should actually be pretty good

      This is finally a virtual 3D manipulation interface that makes sense. This is the very early prototype/research phase, but the ideas are heading in nice directions.
  • Hug the monitor ?

    So with this one... I'm supposed to hug my monitor all the time in order to use it ?

    Why not make everything in front of the screen 3D ?
    Madushan Siriwardena