Der deutsche Education Blog

April, 2010

Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

The Microsoft Research Outreach blog shares stories of collaborations with computer scientists at academic and scientific institutions to advance technical innovations in computing, as well as related events, scholarships, and fellowships.

April, 2010

  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    A Trans-Atlantic Discussion of The Fourth Paradigm


    Last week I had the opportunity to lead a discussion on The Fourth Paradigm with attendees at an e-science and research data management conference. Thanks to technology, specifically Microsoft Office Live Meeting, I was able to participate from Redmond even though the conference was held at the University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, Germany. Since its founding in 1991, the university has established itself as an important member of the scientific community not only in the region of Brandenburg and Berlin, but also internationally. Last week's conference was attended by scientists representing different disciplines, including librarians, data managers and scientific software developers. In my talk I called out Jim Gray’s seven key actions, four of which address the funding of generic tools for data management, with three focused on the coming revolution in scholarly communication and the need for digital libraries with content that’s both data and text. Jim’s call to action set a useful context for the later discussions in the meeting.


    Tony Hey, corporate vice president, External Research, Microsoft Research

  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    The First U.S. National Robotics Week


    This week sees the celebration of the first National Robotics Week in the US.


    Being one of the early advocates for Microsoft’s activities in robotics since late 2003, and as Microsoft Research’s representative (with Tandy Trower for Microsoft Robotics) in the Computing Community Consortium’s (CCC) efforts to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology, I’m thrilled to see the great momentum in both research and commercial robotics in the US and beyond. All of us at Microsoft Research wish great success to the participants and partners involved in the multitude of events across the country.


    From the National Robotics Week “About” page:

    National Robotics Week recognizes robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation, highlights its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizes its ability to inspire technology education. Robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, health-care, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. During National Robotics Week, a week-long series of events and activities is aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.

    National Robotics Week is a product of a 2009 effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the Caucus, and other members have submitted a formal resolution asking Congress to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.



    An IPRE personal robot used to help learn computer science 


    Some resources for those looking at Microsoft’s robotics and related activities:


    - Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio – a Windows-based environment for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware.

    - Human Robot Interaction Project Awards – a program of recent Microsoft Research academic collaborations to focus attention on the paradigm shift from "robots as tools" to "social robots”.

    - Situated Interaction – some of our ongoing in-house research related to social robotics and advanced “natural” human-computer interaction.

    - Institute For Personal Robots in Education (IPRE) – co-founded between Georgia Tech, Bryn Mawr College and Microsoft Research in 2006, IPRE applies and evaluates personal robots as a compelling context for computer science education and is now supported by NSF (National Science Foundation).

    - Computer Science Education Week (December 6-12, 2009) – an analogous and technically-related week of celebration and activities for aspiring computer scientists.


    Stewart Tansley, senior research program manager, Computer Science, Microsoft External Research 


  • Microsoft Research Outreach Blog

    A Smart Duo: Fetal Monitors and Mobile Technology


    At the heart of the thousands of debates and discussions regarding healthcare is the age-old and industry-agnostic issue of supply and demand. On one side of the equation there are hospitals, healthcare practitioners, equipment, research and many other factors. On the other side there are billions of people living throughout the world, each of whom have a unique set of conditions and needs—many without access to healthcare providers.


    The ability to leverage the power of mobile technology in order to develop a point-of-care diagnostic tool is what inspired Microsoft Research to partner with researchers at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia to develop affordable, portable fetal monitors. With financial, software and hardware support from Microsoft External Research, the Australian team developed a software application that can be downloaded at no cost to any Windows Mobile smartphone that, when connected to a low-cost fetal monitor, allows expectant mothers to track fetal heart rate and other activities within the womb. That data, in turn, can be transmitted – in much the same way an image would be sent via a text message – to obstetricians, midwives and other healthcare professionals near and far. The technology behind the monitors is Doppler radar to track the baby’s movements.


    The monitors can also be used to track and relay critical information during premature births, a special concern for the researchers in Australia, where indigenous women in remote and rural areas experience premature births, fetal deaths and other complications twice as often as other Australian women. Martin Masek, one of the project’s principals, discussed its implications in this video, shot last year at the mHealth Summit.


    Of the many compelling aspects of this project, its global applicability is of particular interest. With nearly 90 percent of the world’s population now living in an area that can send and receive cell phone signals, the technology solution is truly scalable: The combination of smartphones and medical technology has the potential to be deployed almost anywhere.  That, in addition to the technology’s cost of less than $100 US, could have enormous implications not only for developing nations, but for areas of countries including the U.S. where accessibility to quality healthcare remains an issue due to geographic or socioeconomic factors.


    Kristin Tolle, director, Natural User Interfaces for Healthcare, Microsoft External Research

Page 2 of 2 (6 items) 12