In Pictures: Microsoft exposes its research efforts

Photo gallery of Microsoft scientists showing off research projects during the TechFest gathering

Microsoft Corp. this week pulled in researchers and scientists from the company's labs around the world to show off their work at its seventh annual TechFest gathering in Redmond, Wash. Yesterday. The one-day show for the press and business partners highlighted a slew of Microsoft research projects, including work on cell biology, monitoring and predicting epidemics and monitoring volcanic undersea activities.

Microsoft also showed off the World Wide Telescope, which is a project that pulls together images from the best telescopes in the world and stitches the information together in a single, searchable format. The telescope project is slated to be released free to the public this spring.

Here are some images from Tuesday's TechFest show floor, where scientists showed off their work and even actor and science enthusiast Alan Alda weighed in with his take on the emerging tech that he saw there.


Patrick Baudisch, a researcher at Microsoft, shows off LucidTouch. He's been working on enabling people to control an app by touching the back of the device so the information on the front is not occluded by the user's fingers.


Curtis Wong, a principal researcher at Microsoft, has been working on the World Wide Telescope project. Slated to be available to the public for free this spring, the project brings together images from the best telescopes around the world.


Debbie Kelley, a professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, is working on setting up underwater sensor arrays around the world to monitor ocean activity, including volcanic eruptions. Here she shows off a piece of a hot spring deposit from 7,000 feet under the sea. Microsoft researchers are working on software that will handle the data coming from the sensors.


Mark Stoermer, director of the center for environmental visualization at the University of Washington, is working with Microsoft to turn data coming from undersea sensor arrays into meaningful images.


Actor and science enthusiast Alan Alda (left) talks about emerging technologies with Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. The two men held a "fireside chat" during a keynote presentation at TechFest in Redmond, Wa. on Tuesday, March 4.


Alan Alda, actor and longtime participant in the PBS series "Scientific American Frontiers", told a keynote audience at TechFest that he's excited about new technologies that will increase communication and education among everyday people, as well as scientists.


Zhengyou Zhang, a principal researcher at Microsoft, shows off a prototype of the Active Lighting Project. The columns on either side of the computer are designed to emit different colors to literally put him in the best light for his Web cam images.


Zhengyou Zhang, a principal researcher at Microsoft, shows off various video teleconferencing devices, including the RoundTable, which sits amidst the laptops on the table pictured here. The RoundTable uses an array of microphones and cameras to give remote meeting participants a full view of the meeting room, as well as an dynamic picture of the person speeking at the time.


Ivan Tashev, a researcher at Microsoft, demonstrates what he says could be the quietest room in the world. The triangular shapes, which are made out of glass wool covered by textile, are designed to help sound decay. The room is being used to design better earphones.


Phil Chou, a principal researcher at Microsoft, shows off Microphone Max, which has a mouth and throat simulator, as well as microphones for ears. The "talking, listening head" is being used to design better earphones.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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