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Touring Microsoft's science fairCraig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, takes News.com's Ina Fried on a tour of TechFest 2008. They discuss the latest research out of Redmond's labs and where the company is placing its bets these days.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> I'm Ina Fried with CNET News.com here at TechFest 2008. I'm here with Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie where we're gonna get a tour of TechFest. First stop, we're gonna talk a little bit about sensors. What do we have here, Craig? >> Feng Zhao. Feng runs the research group of Microsoft that's been doing work on sensors. Now, this is an example of a miniature circuit board that is a tiny, tiny web server and what Feng and his group have done is, make a tiny version of the traditional type of protocols that run in the Internet and provide web services and then have created a way to package them in different devices. >> So, each sensor can talk to another sensor and share the data. >> Right. >> What are the kinds of things that a sensor like this might be used for? >> Well, you know, you measure all of the normal things, you know, temperature, humidity, wind speed. I mean, you can, sort of anything that we know how to make a physical measurement created to be in the device or connected to it through some of these USB ports. >> We actually have been collaborating with scientists in Switzerland. They put sensors on one of the rock glaciers on Alps and by actually putting those sensor data and using our software's to actually looking into the data and overlay them on virtual earth, we can see some really interesting effects as for example on the temperature actually varies over a period of time and how does that correlate with a number of other environmental factors. So, in addition of what Craig was saying about, you know the energy and the conservation, environment is another big area that we think a sensor that is going to enable. >> And one of the things that we're very interested in is do models of natural interaction with machines. As I put my fingers on this thing, my fingers show up as a -- not as real shadow, but in fact as a computer generated image of those things. And the little red dots represent essentially a cursor for finger that I could use to manipulate. And because the front could be a touch surface too, you know, you could hold the device between your palms and point and click in different ways or do multi finger gestures on maps or other types of things that might be interesting user interfaces is the future. >> At TechFest we see things like biology sensors, why are some of these things important to Microsoft? >> A lot of what you see here today in this particular booth is about our increasing investment in trying to have a positive interaction, a supportive one and provide tools for the science community and in academe and business alike. So all these things we think are part and parcel of a holistic Microsoft that looks at many dimension of where we could add value through our software. ^M00:02:50 [ Music ]