• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Using the Windows Azure Cloud - Makes all your development dreams possible


    Following on from Sarah Lamb great post at UK MSDN “Imagine a scenario in which you were able to add new levels to a platform game immediately after they have been built. Using a cloud backend makes this all possible, and when you can also track significant quantities of data to keep your game flow smooth and your players engaged, you give your title the best chance it has at being great at player retention.”

    I wanted to ask the following questions…

    How many of you use the cloud today in your gaming experience?

    Take a look at following video

    Now ask yourself the question again? 

    So this is how we see the use of games and apps on modern devices 


    How do you see your consumers using devices, apps, services and infrastructure?

    What does Windows Azure Offer?


    what you can do


    How many of want to use the cloud but not sure where to start?

    Simply go to http://www.windowsazure.com

    Windows Azure 3 month free trial

    • // Quickly build, deploy & manage applications.
    • // Use any operating system, language or tool.
    • // No obligation, totally free.

    your free trial contains

    Or if your a academic or student go to http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    How many are you just really interested in learning more about the cloud?

    One of the key features for mobile app/game developers is Azure Mobile Services https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/mobile/ which supports Windows, iOS, Android and HTML

    What does Azure Mobile Services offer?


    Interested to hear what the thought leaders in the RU Gaming Industry think re: The opportunity of the Cloud?

    See the following summary document EU Cloud Gaming Conference 2013

    simply click on the image to download your PDF copy to keep.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in the next generation Kinect for Windows sensor




    You can apply to take part in the Kinect for Windows developer kit program. This program, which begins in November 2013, will provide developers with tools and a pre-release sensor as soon as possible so they can start building new applications before general availability in 2014.

    The program fee will be US$399 (or local equivalent) and offers the following benefits:

    Direct access to the Kinect for Windows engineering team via a private forum and exclusive webcasts
    Early SDK access (alpha, beta, and any updates along the way to release)
    Private access to all API and sample documentation
    A pre-release/alpha sensor
    A final, released sensor at launch

    There are a limited number of spots in the program. Applications must be completed by July 31, 2013, 9:00 A.M. (Pacific Time). Register here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindowsdev/newdevkit.aspx

    We will begin notifying successful applicants in August.

    Additionally, in September the Kinect for Windows SDK will be updated with several exciting updates including:

    • The ability to extract the user from the background in real time
    • The ability to develop Kinect for Windows desktop applications by using HTML5/JavaScript
    • Enhancements to Kinect Fusion, including capture of color data and improvements to tracking robustness and accuracy

    The feature enhancements will enable even better Kinect for Windows-based applications for businesses and end users, and the convenience of HTML5 will make it easier for developers to build leading-edge touch-free experiences.

    This will be the fourth significant update to the Kinect for Windows SDK since the Kinect team launched 17 months ago.The Kinect team are committed to continuing to improve the existing Kinect for Windows platform and with the announcement of the programme above were excited to see what the academic community can do with the new generation Kinect for Windows sensor and SDK. 

    If you aren’t already using Kinect for Windows to develop touch-free solutions, now is a great time to start for more details see the Kinect for Windows Blog  .

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/kinectforwindows and Resources at http://www.kinectforwindows.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    LIVE Coverage of the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, July 16–17, 2012



    LIVE Coverage of the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, July 16–17, 2012

    For the first time, we'll be broadcasting the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit live. We will stream the keynotes from the Faculty Summit plus entertaining interviews with scientific and academic visionaries who will discuss how they're tackling some of today's top research and computer science challenges.

    Join us for the live broadcast of the Faculty Summit on July 16 and 17, 9:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Pacific Time.

    · See what’s in store and view the Faculty Summit broadcast live.

    · Join the conversation through Twitter hashtag #FacSumm.


    Visit Microsoft Research website: Microsoft Research Connections

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    XNA inside UNITY3D for Ludum Dare Student/Institutional Entries



    Unity_logi XNA

    I was having a chat with a number student early this morning at the Inter Uni Game Jam 2012 re Gameathons and Hacks they have attended. Ludum Dare seems to a great and popular online competition for rapid prototyped games. However it was clear from the discussions students building XNA were severely hindered due to the nature of Lumun Dare and its 1000s of competitors, the reason being, is that the majority of the competitors will only play games Online that don't have to be complied so Flash and Unity web player games are really popular.

    As I discussed in a previous blog  Flash .SWF games can be ported to Unity using UniSwf see http://www.uniswf.com

    So we got onto discussing XNA to Unity or as its called UnityXNA which is simply a straightforward way of getting XNA games running in Unity3D. This was a rather interesting discussion with Ph.D student Luke Shares a member of the DevSoc team had actually already been experimenting with this and built a solution for the DevSoc 1st years for Lumun Dare entrys and we compared his work from Barnaby Smith, MVI Networks who has released a solution on GitHub at https://github.com/mvi/UnityXNA

    What's rather interesting is that MVI Networks solution, make Zero code changes to the original XNA game code. Barnaby has used a mixture of new code and some code from MonoXNA to implement XNA emulation by having a game object with a script attached run an XNA game performing updates and drawing.

    A great walkthrough and analysis of UnityXNA can be found here http://darkgenesis.zenithmoon.com/xna-to-unityxna-and-beyond/

    Also if your interested in seeing the XNA Platform sample running in Unity you can see the game in your web browser here and download the source here.

    Implemented so far:

    1. Basic game loop and GameTime calculation.
    2. ContentManager loads Texture2Ds, SoundEffects and Songs, each wrapping the relevant Unity3D object.
    3. SpriteBatch Draw implemented using a draw queue, specifically created for the purpose. Currently supports colour tinting, source rectangles, and sprite effect flip modes.
    4. SpriteBatch DrawString has limited support, rendering the text in the correct position and with the correct colour.
    5. Support for playing Songs through MediaPlayer and playing SoundEffects
    6. KeyboardStates emulated for a limited set of keys which are mapped from their XNA values to Unity3D KeyCodes.
    7. Zero code changes to the game needed to run Platformer sample

    Known issues, immediate areas for improvement:

    1. SpriteFont is not supported, all DrawStrings render with the default GUI Label font.
    2. Frame rate is currently vsync’d at 60 frames per second. When vsync is disabled GameTime is not calculated correctly.
    3. Windows Media Audio (.wma) is not supported by Unity3D, so I’ve converted the sample audio files to Ogg Vorbis (.ogg).
    4. Keyboard input is currently limited to a small set of keys, more mappings between XNA Keys and Unity3D KeyCodes need creating.
    5. Mouse, gamepad and touch input are not currently implemented.

    So this is yet another way of getting your XNA Assets running as an Awesome Windows 8 or WindowsPhone 8 store application.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship 2012



    Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship 2012

    The website is now live for the next PhD Scholarship Programme applications call


    Application deadline: 16 September 2011, 17:00 GMT

    Please let your academic contacts know about it!

    The programme is open to all universities or national research institutions in any country in Europe, the Middle East or Africa.

    As previous years, applications must be made by PhD supervisors not by students. Supervisors will be informed of our decision in January 2012 and will then have up to one year to find the best student for the proposed project. Students will typically start their PhD in October 2012.

    The page also contains a link to a number of currently open PhD positions sponsored by Microsoft Research at a number of Universities:


    If you have questions or feedback, please contact us.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    July Update from Microsoft Research & Faculty Connection



    Functional Contact Lens Monitors Blood Sugar Without Needles – Video

    Researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research Connections are working together to develop a non-invasive, technological solution to improve both the health and overall quality of life for diabetics: a contact lens that monitors blood glucose levels. The functional contact lens is an example of how natural user interfaces (NUI) can enable the development of innovative solutions. To learn more, read the blog, Functional Lens Promises to Improve the Quality of Life for Diabetics and Others.


    Learn How Robots Can Help When Disaster Strikes – Video

    The University of Massachusetts Lowell, Microsoft Surface, and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio developed a human-robot interaction application to create novel remote controls for rescue robots. Once perfected, this approach could enable emergency responders to safely manoeuvre rescue robots through buildings that are damaged by earthquakes, fire, or even terrorist attacks.

    Research in Action


    Download Project Daytona: Iterative MapReduce on Windows Azure

    The eXtreme Computing Group within Microsoft Research has developed an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure, code-named Daytona. It enables laboratories, small groups, and individual researchers to use the power of the cloud to analyse data sets on gigabytes or terabytes of data and run large-scale machine-learning algorithms on dozens or hundreds of compute cores. The Project Daytona download includes a deployment guide, developer and user documentation, and code samples for both data analysis algorithms and client application. Learn more:

    · Microsoft Research Debuts ‘Daytona’ Azure Analytics Tools

    · Microsoft Research Releases Details About "Daytona" at Faculty Summit

    · Free Tool Kit to Assist Big-Data Scientists

    The Promise of Games in Lifelong Learning

    We are pleased to announce the launch of a program that supports collaborations between Microsoft Research Connections and major research institutions to build the foundations for a unified game layer for education. Our first official project is Just Press Play, an experiment to craft gameful experiences for the students of Rochester Institute of Technology undergraduate game design program. (Gameful experiences incorporate the use of game play mechanics that focus on the user's intrinsic motivation—engaging the user in a way that can produce long-lasting and powerful results.)

    Microsoft Research Accelerators – Video

    Learn about Microsoft Research Accelerators tools and services for academics and researchers that are designed to help scientists, researchers, teachers, and students explore science, analyze and visualize data, and publish the results of their research. This video provides a brief introduction to just a few of our many Research Accelerators, including the Chemistry Add-in for Word, Zentity, Scientific Workflow Workbench, and Try F#.

    Project Hawaii SDK: Create Mobile Applications – Video

    Find out how you can create cloud-enabled mobile applications with the tools and services that are included in the Project Hawaii software development kit (SDK). Arjmand Samuel, research program manager from Microsoft Research Connections, talks about what the SDK contains and how it can be used to develop Windows Phone applications.


    Faculty Summit: Get Information about the Speakers and Presentations and Watch the Videos

    The twelfth Microsoft Research Faculty Summit provided a forum for lively debate of the development, application, and funding of technologies in the environmental, medical, and educational spheres over a long period of time. The program consisted of keynote presentations, discussions, panels, workshops, and demonstrations. Learn more about the event and the integral role that industrial research plays in society, education, and technology transfer.

    Coming Soon

    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta Enhancements Coming Soon

    Interest in the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) beta, released on June 16, 2011, has been strong, and we’re delighted to learn that so many developers and innovators who are experimenting with natural user interface (NUI) applications have taken advantage of the SDK to explore the potential of the Kinect sensor. The community has provided us with a lot of good feedback, and in support of our commitment to encourage researchers and enthusiasts in their exploration of the exciting possibilities of the Kinect sensor, we will release a refreshed version of the SDK soon. The upcoming Kinect for Windows SDK beta refresh will address some of the top items you’ve told us about.

    Pneumonia Vaccine in Nepal: Clinical Trial Uses Microsoft-Based System

    The Oxford University vaccine group is conducting a clinical trial to help save lives by making it easier for Nepalese patients to get a complete round of pneumonia vaccinations. The current vaccination regime consists of two injections administered consecutively; but to complete the regime, a third injection is required six months later. This third injection often does not get administered in Nepal, where it is difficult for many patients to access hospitals. Oxford University’s trial aims to determine whether three vaccines administered in a shorter time period can provide similar pneumonia protection. A system that employs Microsoft SharePoint and InfoPath enabled the vaccine group to create and deploy the clinical trial support infrastructure more quickly and inexpensively than by conventional methods. Oxford University Computing Lab and Microsoft Research Connections developed the system jointly.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 UK Results



    On Wednesday 25h April at 16:00 BST, the UK hosted its local Imagine Cup finals webcast at the Microsoft Campus in Reading. The 6 finalists from the Software Design competition who were chosen from a round of preliminary judging were whittled down to the two top teams on 19th April through 5 hours of judging in a sealed room at our Microsoft offices in London Victoria. Through much deliberation over the next few days, we chose one team to represent the UK at the Imagine Cup worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia!

    Imagine Cup Software Design in the UK this year: A few stats



    · We had 991 registrations for the Imagine Cup UK this year

    · 374 of them signed up to the Software Design competition

    · 49 teams were formed for the Software Design competition

    · 26 teams submitted a Round 1 entry

    · 6 teams were selected for the UK final

    · 1 team won and will go to the worldwide finals in Sydney to represent the UK

    The Judges


    The Teams


    Bazinga! From Motherwell College – were inspired to use smartphone technology to inspire students all about Science! “Professor Duffy’s Interactive Labs app” is a complete science Lab on the phone utilising various sensors on the phone to demonstrate the practical side of science in a fun and interactive way.

    Teesside 0x32: From Teesside University was inspired to develop Cloud Doctor – In Ethiopia for example there is 1 doctor to 50,000 patients. Cloud Doctor, as the name implies, harnesses Windows Azure and Cloud technologies combined with Windows Phone and Windows 8 tablets to deliver an on-demand, flexible and intelligent collaboration system – connecting healthcare workers in the developing world with specialists and doctors all over the world who volunteer their time to help patients on the ground.

    Team EyeWorks: From Northumbria University and Newcastle College were inspired to develop MIRA (a Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis platform). MIRA is a cloud based platform that utilises Smartphone technology coupled with a specialist lens attachment developed at Northumbria University to identify early stage sight loss in the developing world.

    WykeWare: From the University of Hull were inspired to develop a smartphone application to assist those people with a risk of falling be it the elderly or people prone to fainting. Their submission embraced cloud technology to match emergencies and responders to identify how to prioritise how best to help.

    Sentient Systems: From the University of Reading were inspired to develop “Sentience” a cost effective software solution designed to run affordable , advanced and customizable robot systems utilising cloud based distribution, plug-in architectures, commodity frameworks and low cost hardware specifically Kinect!

    Team Loading: From The University of Manchester were inspired to develop Project Sky High. Project Sky High is a Windows Phone application combined with a netduino hardware sensor to allow aid workers in the developing world to transform a smartphone into a cost effective portable ultrasound scanner and mobile blood pressure monitor. The patient data will be recorded in the cloud in Windows Azure and accessible by a medical professional.

    The Winners

    In 3rd place and winners of a pocket digital video camcorder each were…


    In 2nd place and winners of a Windows Phone each were…


    In 1st place and winners of a Windows Phone each, a trip to the Microsoft Technology Center in Reading to spend a day with the experts and also the grand prize of a trip to Sydney, Australia to compete in the worldwide finals were…


    A huge congratulation to all teams who competed and this year the decision was made much harder than ever before as the entries this year far surpassed previous years.

    All teams who submitted a Round 2 video entry will be receiving feedback and teams who have won prizes will be hearing from the Academic Team very soon! Congratulations to Team EyeWorks and we will be seeing you in Sydney!

    Watch the Video of the Imagine Cup 2012 UK Live Web Cast relieving the Winners of the UK Imagine Cup entries

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Marmalade Developer Day 19th Nov at Birmingham City Uni


    MSMar Logo

    Marmalade and Microsoft along with Birmingham City University are hosting one of the largest Marmalade and Windows Phone 8 porting events in the UK and they would love to see you there! By attending this free one day event you’ll receive the latest information regarding Marmalade 7 and Windows Phone 8.

    Over the last 12 months we have seen the Windows Phone UK market share increase rapidly, more and more consumers are purchasing Windows Phones and Windows tablets and we are seeing amazing success on the Windows ecosystem from game developers with titles such as Mortar Melon reach 750k+ downloads; Guns4Hire & Judge Dredd with 1m+; Royal Revolt with 1m+ in 6 weeks and Lego Hero Factory: Brain Attack with 500k downloads in 4 weeks.

    There will be hands-on advice from Marmalade experts to help you port your existing or new mobile games to the Windows Phone

    If you don't have the necessary hardware to port to Windows Phone we have that covered! We will provide hardware running all the necessary developer tools and will provide access to Marmalade 7.

    This event is for new and existing marmalade developers and students

    10.00 Registration
    10.30 - 10.40 Intro from Uni
    10.40 - 11.00 Welcome from Microsoft/Marmalade
    11.00 - 12.00 Getting started with Marmalade - Jamie Grossman Marmalade
    12.00-13.00 Lunch Break
    13.00-14.00 Using Marmalade walkthrough popup lab tutorial - Jamie Grossman Marmalade
    14.00-15.00 Designing beautiful windows phone games - Lee Stott Microsoft
    15.00 -15.10 Break
    15.10 - 16.00 Microsoft/Nokia developer programmes and Opportunity - Lee Stott Microsoft
    16:00 -20:00 Hackathon/Gameaton with Marmalade for Windows Phone 8
    20:00 - 20.30 Games Showcase
    21:00 Close

    Register Now http://aka.ms/microsoftmarmaladeday

    Free devcies

    Register Now http://aka.ms/microsoftmarmaladeday

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 7 App Development






    Visuals & Media

    Make your applications visually appealing with images, animations, and media.


    Sensors & Other Phone Specific Features

    Use unique features of the phone, such the accelerometer, GPS, and camera, in your applications

      Beyond the QuickStarts


    So if you have developed your own apps and your a UK Student or Academic we loved to hear your experience and more about the app.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark and Apphub Creation step by step guide



    So if your a Student or Academic and you want to get a free Dreamspark account and upload some phone apps via App Hub waiving the $99 fee. follow the following step by step by step process.

    1) Go to https://www.dreamspark.com/verify/default.aspx and sign in with a LiveID (you can create a LiveID using your .ac.uk email address or a personal email address if preferred) or if your a school or college administrator with a .org.uk email you can register your school.


    2) Select your country and status

    1) UK
    2) Verify as a Student
    3) Get verified through my school
    4) Click Continue


    4) Select correct School, college or University.


    5) Type in your information, and be sure to use your .ac.uk email address.


    6) Check your .ac.uk email for verification:


    7) Follow instructions to activate by clicking on the link and typing in the code sent to your email address.


    8) After this is done, go to https://users.create.msdn.com/Register/ and choose account type, “Student”. This will waive the $99 fee.


    9) Go through the entire App Hub account creation process. follow the step by step guide here

    10) It will lead to another email to confirm your App Hub account.


    11) To register your phone handsets

    1. Turn on your phone and if necessary unlock the phone screen.

    2. On your phone, ensure that the date and time are correct.

    3. Using the USB cable that came with your phone, connect your phone to your computer. On your computer, the Zune software starts automatically. If Zune does not start, then start it manually.

    4. On your computer, click Start, click All Programs, and then click Windows Phone SDK 7.1.

    5. Click Windows Phone Developer Registration.The application starts, as shown in the following image. Verify that the Status message displays Phone ready. Please enter your Windows Live ID and password and click "Register" to begin.


      If your phone is already registered, the Status message will indicate this and you will see an Unregister button.

    6. Enter the Windows Live ID and password that correspond to your App Hub membership.

    7. Click Register.

    After your phone is successfully registered, the Status message will display Your phone has successfully been registered. You can now deploy applications to the Windows Phone. If you ever need to, you can also unregister the device by clicking Unregister in the tool.

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