A while back I downloaded the Microsoft Photosynth application and tried it out on some pictures that we took from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis this last summer. I was amazed at the ability of the program to accurately stitch the photos together and also to allow you a depth of view to the overall photo.
What I did not realize at the time, is that this program comes from a relatively unknown, to the general public, division of Microsoft that works on cutting edge technologies. The Microsoft Research group touts on their About Us page the following:
“Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Microsoft Research also collaborates openly with colleges and universities worldwide to advance the field of computer science.”
So, while you hear about Apple, IBM, Google and other companies doing more research-oriented work, Microsoft also is doing the same.
Looking through the website, here are some of the more interesting projects that I found.
Songsmith – This looks interesting as it will create backing music for your song. According to the website, you just record your song by singing into your microphone and Songsmith will create the backing music for your song.
Image Composite Editor – This is touted as an advanced panoramic image stitcher. It will take multiple images and stitch them together to give a panoramic view of the environment.
World Wide Telescope – This application takes imagery from multiple sources and puts it together into a cohesive view of the stars that you can peruse. Along with the pictures of the stars, there are also narrated tours from astronomers and educators on the more popular places in the sky.
So, take a look at the site. Microsoft is doing a lot of interesting work that is outside of what is considered their core business of Operating Systems, Development Tools and user applications.