prototype

Microsoft Research RearType adds physical QWERTY to tablet back

Microsoft Research RearType adds physical QWERTY to tablet back

You could well argue that the real innovation at Microsoft is going on at their Research arm, where the latest oddball idea is a tablet PC with a split keyboard stuck to the back.  Each half of the 'board is rotated 90-degrees, so as to maintain the regular hand position.  Dubbed "RearType", the layout is the product of a new research paper [PDF link] and is designed to allow for faster text entry without blocking screen visibility or relying on tactile-minimal on-screen keyboards.

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Microsoft Menlo smartphone prototype spotted

Microsoft Menlo smartphone prototype spotted

Microsoft's Menlo "frankenOS", said to be an attempt by the company to develop a new mobile platform, has birthed its first prototype, with the suitably hacked-together device you see here being included as part of a new Microsoft Research publication.  According to "User Experiences with Activity-Based Navigation on Mobile Devices" [PDF link], the test hardware "is a prototype mobile device with a capacitive touch screen (4.1-inch diagonal, 800x480) running Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 which incorporates a Bosch BMA150 3-axis accelerometer and Bosch BMP085 digital pressure sensor (barometer)."

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Compliant Shading Enclosure auto-cools buildings with sun-powered windows

Compliant Shading Enclosure auto-cools buildings with sun-powered windows

As architects try to reduce the amount of energy spent on air conditioning, high-tech electrochromatic glass products that sandwich LCD layers and are dimmable are becoming increasingly common.  Nonetheless, they still suck up power, and so that's why Brent Vander Werf's Compliant Shading Enclosure is so interesting.  A series of fabric apertures sandwiched in-between layers of doubled-glazing, his system relies on bistable springs that flex according to the heat from the sun itself, opening and closing the gaps as they move.

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