Microsoft TechFest 2012

by Mick

Each year during TechFest, Microsoft Research displays a collection of cutting-edge research projects that offer new functionalities for Microsoft products and, often, for the greater research ecosystem.

Details are available from Microsoft Research at

Projects - Microsoft Research

While exploring work being undertaken by the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group regarding Smart Displays and the use of  Wedge Technology

I came across this interesting video demonstrating a number of techniques for future Smart Interactive Displays (although I do note that this video was posted about a year ago!)

Several demonstrations are shown in this video in which 3D information is taken as input and given as output through a smart display: a steerable autoStereo 3-D display, a steerable multiview Display, a retro-reflective air-gesture display, a display that can see, and a Kinect based virtual window

(video link: )

Videos covering recent topics described at TechFest 2012 can be found on the website at

Raspberry Pi

by Mick

Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. It is based around a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, which includes an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU and has 256 Megabytes of RAM. There are a number of interfaces including HDMI for video output, an Ethernet connection, 2 USB ports, audio port, composite video connection and an SD card slot.

General purpose I/O pins allow you to connect it to other electronic compnents, and there are digital camera and lcd interfaces. It is powered from a micro-usb adapter.

The system boots from an SD card which contains the OS within about 15 seconds.

One goal is to encourage people to learn how to program and the Scratch Programming system from MIT is used as an example.

(video link: )

It's available on sale from today, although it may be some time before  you get your hands on one -  the expected delivery date for mine is 16 April

Useful Links


by Mick

Described at a recent Microsoft TechForum, IllumiShare is a low-cost peripheral device that looks like a desk lamp and enables users to create a space which can be shared remotely.

See this and other projects mentioned at

It consists of a camera and micro-projector: the camera captures video of the local workspace and sends it to the remote space and the projector projects video of the remote workspace onto the local space enabling real-time interaction between remote users.

( Video Link: )

Useful Links

Behind-the-Screen Overlay Interactions

by Mick

Described at a recent Microsoft TechForum, Behind-the-Screen Overlay Interactions demonstrates a device that enables 3D interaction with PC applications.

See this and other projects mentioned at

The device uses a see-through OLED display combined with depth cameras which enable users to directly interact with a virtual 3D desktop. Head tracking ensures that the correct perspective is maintained as the user moves and reaches into the virtual scene to manipulate 3D objects.

(Video Link: )

Happy New Year

by Mick 0 Comments

Happy New Year to all readers.

I'm looking forward to see what the New Year will bring.

Yet again I've missed out on attending CES, but will still trawl around the web trying to capture snippets on interesting announcements as they become available  - coverage is usually quite good

I think, this year could be the year of the Internet TV


Dual Sim Mobile Phone

by Mick 0 Comments

I always wanted to try out a dual sim phone and I'm not sure why this concept isn't more popular.

I'm interested in separating Business calls from Personal calls and when abroad possibly using a different Sim in addition to my usual one. This low cost, basic phone would appear to fit the bill for making calls, sending/receiving texts and the occasional email. Although, if you're looking for a smartphone with full internet capability you may need to look for something different.

The Samsung Ch@t 222 allows you to use 2 Sim cards at the same time. With both active, you only need to select which one to use when making a call or sending a text. You can set different ring tones for each Sim so so its easy to determine where your incoming call is comimg from. Another feature which I find useful is being able to read the occasional email.

Still early days, but I find it suits me well.

Full details and spec is available from the Samsung site at

Thanks Santa.

PS.  Although, I really like this phone can you ask Apple to produce a dual Sim iPhone next time please.