Washington: Microsoft researchers and scientists from China, India, Britain and US gathered at the software giant’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington on 6 March 2007 to “conspire” on innovations intended to change the world.
The three-day TechFest event has seen a convergence of researchers demonstrating more than 150 technology creations, that will in some way, impact human lives.
Microsoft’s huge research division is powered by nearly 750 scientists, the ranks of which are only expected to grow, if they must keep their date with the changing world order that they are aspiring to create, in the not so distant future.
According to division vice president Rick Rashid, “Our research which spans an entire range of subjects in just about everything, hopes to change the technologies that make the world a better place.”
Research projects include “Worldwide Telescope” that enables people to scrutinize the universe via the Internet by organizing images from space and Earth-based telescopes.
The company is trying innovative ways to rekindle interest of youngsters in computer science,which has in recent times dwindled. They created the Xbox video game console software that uses an ovate cartoon robot dubbed “Boku” to entice children into learning computer programming.
Boku was inspired by a disturbing dearth of college students majoring in computer science. “There are jobs which are going abegging, simply because we do not have enough young people with the right training and skill sets,” said Rashid.Microsoft is trying to plug the gap by having its research labs collaborate with universities.
The company prides itself for being in an era of “human scale storage,” a time when memory technology is advanced enough to create a “black box” capable of recording every moment of a person’s life.
Some of the interesting concepts that Microsoft is working on include, ‘Sensecam’, which is an invention designed by Herbert’s lab in Cambridge. It is undergoing clinical trials by doctors treating patients with memory problems.
Researchers are also developing security advances to stymie “phishing” scams where criminals create realistic versions of bank or other business websites, to trick people into entering valuable personal data.
To expose website visits by automated “bot” programmes used by online criminals, a log-in step is on the anvil that will distinguish a picture of a cat from that of a dog.
Events like TechFest are part of Microsoft’s mission to get technologies transferred into products pronto and see the change they bring about in users’ lives.