research

The irony: Microsoft makes depth-tracking phone while ignoring Kinect

The irony: Microsoft makes depth-tracking phone while ignoring Kinect

Microsoft may have conspicuously ignored Kinect in its Gamescon event today, going as far as to leave the motion sensor out of all three of its new Xbox One bundles, but that doesn't mean the rest of the company is giving up on clever camera tech. Microsoft Research has been working on turning a regular smartphone into a depth-camera, delivering Kinect and Google Project Tango style scanning and tracking but with a fraction of the complexity.

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Savioke SaviOne robot butler starts work at Starwood Hotels

Savioke SaviOne robot butler starts work at Starwood Hotels

A robotic butler is set to roam the corridors of the Aloft hotel in Cupertino, the first example of mysterious robo-startup Savioke's new plan to make service robotics mainstream. Dubbed A.L.O., the SaviOne "Butlr" is roughly three foot tall and topped with a touchscreen, and the Starwood chain hotel will trial how effective it is at delivering items like drinks and towels to guest rooms.

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Microsoft just made your shaky GoPro video watchable

Microsoft just made your shaky GoPro video watchable

Wearable cameras like GoPro do a great job of giving a first-person view of extreme sports and other activities, but their often jerky footage can also end up doing a good job of triggering nausea. That's where Microsoft Research's new Hyperlapse system comes in, timelapse videos that run smoothly and pretty much jerk-free, despite coming from raw footage that jumps around madly.

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NASA releases “flying saucer” test video

NASA releases “flying saucer” test video

NASA's flying saucer has successfully made it to near-space, with the latest test flight for the experimental Mars lander pushing the boundaries of high-speed parachute deployment. The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) represents NASA's strategy for taking larger payloads safely down to the Martian surface, using both an inflatable air-brake and a vast parachute twice the size of that which set the Curiosity rover down.

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The dirty little secret about in-car voice control

The dirty little secret about in-car voice control

Speaking to your car's dashboard has been hailed by many as the answer to driver distraction, but most systems are flawed, respond poorly, and motorists don't really care about their features, research indicates. Automotive survey heavyweight J.D. Power went digging through reported vehicle quality, and found that lackluster infotainment - substandard voice control systems in particular - was a frequent complaint.

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Lasers and carbon-nanotubes pave way to live brain scanning

Lasers and carbon-nanotubes pave way to live brain scanning

Lasers and carbon nanotubes peering into the brain might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but tests that could one day mean precise non-invasive diagnosis of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other diseases are already underway. The technology, developed by chemists at Stanford University, has so far been tested on mice, but opens the door to an alternative to physically removing sections of the skull to track cellular-level changes.

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IBM SyNAPSE: The neuron-inspired future of computing

IBM SyNAPSE: The neuron-inspired future of computing

A computer chip that thinks like a neuron in the human brain and sips a fraction of the power of traditional processors could finally open the door to cognitive computing, IBM researchers claim today. Dubbed IBM SyNAPSE, the groundbreaking chip squeezes a million "programmable neurons" and 256 million "programmable synapses" into something the size of a postage stamp, but which could one day allow for advanced digital versions of human senses.

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