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Are you a researcher who spends a lot of time deploying field studies in homes and other buildings where human activity takes place—studies that often involve both custom-built and off-the-shelf sensors and devices? Do you face challenges in combining these varying devices together in one experiment? Do you collect data from dozens to hundreds of experiment sites? Do your experiments require frequent updating with fixes or new extensions? And finally, do you wish you could share your infrastructure and subjects with others, so that you can conduct collaborative experiments? The Lab of Things (LoT) provides the infrastructure, software, and services that make all of these things possible. So what is the LoT? It is a research-device platform based on Microsoft Research’s HomeOS system. The LoT allows virtually any type of device to be interconnected to the infrastructure. It boasts an open-driver model that lets you write a driver in the event that your device is not supported. You can also choose to share your new driver with the research community so others can benefit from your work.
The LoT also comes with a set of cloud services that support deployment of experiments at scale. One of the services is the LoT monitoring portal, which provides near real-time status of all the sites in your study. The update service allows you to configure your experiments so that you receive all of your field-study data in one convenient location in the cloud. It also facilitates on-the-fly updates to experiments, drivers, and any other component of the infrastructure, without your having to visit the site physically. Through all of these features, the LoT lets you interconnect devices and scale up your field studies in diverse experiment locations. With the LoT, you will spend a LOT more of your research time and budget where it is meant to be spent: conducting actual experiments, rather than developing software infrastructure. Visit lab-of-things.com and get started today!
—Arjmand Samuel, Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections
It is becoming increasingly apparent to us all that computers are everywhere, even in our cell phones, and can help us accomplish many tasks from finding information on the Internet to analyzing large genomic data sets. This morning, Bill Gates will address how computing contributes to improving our world as he kicks off the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit. His topic reminds me of how much our conception of the role of computing has changed since the days of mainframe computers.
The world has always needed outstanding young thinkers who possess deep theoretical understanding combined with curiosity, drive, and energy. Today’s technical opportunities and demands only increase that need.
One of the highlights of the Faculty Summit is the introduction of the latest Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows. This year, we present seven new faculty members, bringing the total to 60 Faculty Fellowships awarded since 2005. The fellowship provides them with the freedom to focus on their research courageously early in their careers. The Faculty Fellowships are just one of many programs of grants, fellowships, and internships that we offer worldwide.
Every year, I look forward to welcoming researchers to Microsoft’s Redmond campus for the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, which seeks to bring academia and Microsoft Research together to assess the state of the art and exchange a broad range of ideas across disciplinary and technology boundaries. Some 2,500 academics and scientists from more than 500 universities have participated in the Faculty Summits in Redmond since 2000.
This year, more than 650 distinguished researchers will convene to explore a host of issues that the computing community is seeking to address through technology, such as finding cures for cancer, providing assistance during natural disasters, or predicting political events that can upend stability. Knowing that a physical event can’t scale to accommodate the growing interest in this event, we have added virtual programming for the broader audience. It includes the live broadcast of Bill Gates’ session and shares key content from the summit program through fast-paced Research in Focus interviews. Visit microsoftfacultysummit.com to watch it live and online July 15, 09:00–17:30 Pacific Time.
I am certain you will gain insights and value through your virtual attendance at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, so I encourage you to watch the live stream. You’ll not only hear from (and have the opportunity to question) leading researchers, you’ll also be able to learn about the opportunities to engage with us in the quest to improve the world through technical innovation.
—Harold Javid, General Chair, Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013
Healthcare providers increasingly appreciate the value of patients having access to accurate and understandable information about their health and treatments. This is why Microsoft Research’s Dan Morris and a team of researchers at Columbia University, led by Professor Lauren Wilcox, have been working to develop Patient Friendly Medical Displays that automatically create simplified, personalized, plain-language views of the information in a patient’s electronic health record. Now this team of researchers has developed Remedy, a prototype search system that assists laypeople in assessing medication-related Internet search results. General-purpose web search engines give a broad array of results, without providing tools to help people narrow in on technical or non-technical content, avoid ads, and spot indicators of quality and credibility. Remedy supports rapid filtering and comparison of medication-information search results, based on a number of website features and content topics. It thus helps users find reliable, patient-friendly educational material more easily. Remedy summarizes the topics that it finds in the search results and lets users navigate to websites according to these topics. It also provides a topic-based view in which users can see what multiple sites have to say about a single topic of interest. This video shows how Remedy helps patients find relevant, reliable information about their medications.
Remedy was tested with patients in the cardiac aftercare unit at New York Presbyterian Hospital. The researchers are evaluating the outcomes of this pilot study, but initial results indicate that patients were enthusiastic about using Remedy. A second, more substantial hospital study is under consideration based on these positive indications. In addition, Remedy was demonstrated at the 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare in Venice, Italy, May 5–8, 2013.
Although Remedy is still a prototype at this stage, the initial positive reaction to it bodes well for further research and development on tools to ensure that patients can easily access and understand reliable information about their medications, health, and medical treatments.
—Simon Mercer, Director, Microsoft Research Connections
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