July, 2012 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

July, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Techdays Events Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure and Windows UX FREE Training in August and Sept 2012



    Wherever you are, whatever your field, Tech.Days bring you more opportunities than ever to explore our latest technologies and engage with the UK and Europe's leading technologists.

    Discover key trends at your own pace and your own place with our online conferences. Get hands-on experience with our immersive one-day bootcamps. Or share insights into the technical topics that matter to you with our programme of sponsored regional events.
    However you choose to connect, Tech.Days provides the perfect environment to grow both your professional skill set and your peer network.

    We welcome you to join our Summer/Autumn edition of Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Azure Dev Camps. You will get hands-on learning, assistance and support which will allow you to pick up the skills required to make the most of Microsoft's newest developer offerings.

    We'll be adding new events over the coming months so follow us @uktechdays to keep up to date with new announcements.

    Full dates of FREE training now available across the country in July, August and September see here http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/upcoming-events.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    SUR40 Pixel Sense NUIverse Demo



    Jon Roskill and Steve Clayton join one of my colleague Dr Dave Brown at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2012 in Toronto for live a demonstration of the Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense featuring Dave's creation NUIverse.

    NUIverse is simply an amazing example of natural user interface and highlights the unique properties of the Samsung SUR40 and PixelSense technology that enables collaborative multitouch experience using objects. Developed by Dave over the past year NUIverse really does show off the power of Pixel Sense and the immersive nature of the SUR40 device for more indepth details of the development process concepts and Dave's patents for Users controls see http://drdave.co.uk/blog

    More information: Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense http://www.samsunglfd.com/solution/sur40.do

    I am looking forward to what the researchers and post docs at your institutions can do with these amazing devices.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    .NET Gadgeteer at Animation 12



    The University of ManchesterAnimation12 competition took place on Friday 13th of July 2012. The event have over 300 registered competitors.

    The University of Manchester School of Computer Science launched the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition in 2008 as part of Digital60 - celebrating the 60th Anniversary of "The Baby", the world's first stored-program computer, designed and built at The University of Manchester.

    The UK Schools Computer Animation Competition was launched to introduce UK schoolchildren to the fun side of basic programming whilst animating.

    The Competition is an annual event, to show schoolchildren that computers can be used creatively, and to stimulate them to learn about programming. The Competition's summer Awards Festival is held in Manchester, when winners receive their prizes, and over 300 guests attend talks and spend time in activity rooms exploring the fun side of computing.

    The Competition is open to all UK schoolchildren aged 7-19, and is completely free.

    “Youngsters love gadgets. So wouldn’t it be great if they could build their own, and at school? This is exactly what more than 80 of the competitors, ages 7 to 19, did  using .NET Gadgeteer during a hands on session at the event.


    The .NET Gadgeteer pilot project aligns with the UK’s commitment to prioritize computer science education in schools, as spelled out by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, in his speech at the BETT Show (see School ICT to be replaced by computer science programme) and will be a key part in the AQA GCSE Computer Science course starting in Sept 2012.

    We look forward to more schools, colleges, and universities utilizing .NET Gadgeteer to unleash their students’ creativity and enthusiasm in technology in the UK, and beyond. Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche, Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections EMEA, and Steve Hodges, Principal Hardware Engineer, Microsoft Research Cambridge


    We had over 80 students attend the pre booked Gadgeteer workshop sessions which took place throughout the day in all we ran 4 x 30 min sessions demonstrating hands on how to Build a Digital Camera with .NET Gadgeteer in 30 mins.


    Animation12 Web Site – Learn more about Animation12 and see details of the event.

    Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express.
    Build all manner of electronic gadgets quickly and easily with .NET Gadgeteer! LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED

    Reading Materials

    getting started

    Getting Started with .NET Gadgeteer by Simon Monk - This book explains .NET Gadgeteer to the novice and to using only the parts available in the Fez Spider Starter Kit. This is the most common starter kit if components for the Gadgeteer.

    Curricula Resources

    Teaching Material for .NET Gadgeteer in School  
    .NET Gadgeteer can be used in schools to help students make gadgets and learn C# programming along the way. These lesson plans give teachers all the material needed to run 8 1-hour sessions using .NET Gadgeteer, including session plans, student handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft IT Academy–Microsoft Courseware Marketplace



    We are excited to announce the launch of a new Courseware Marketplace for both IT Academies and Microsoft Learning Partners on July 31st 2012. 

    The new Webshop will make available the ability to customise and order digital content to IT Academies for the first time.

    Some of the new features will include:

    · One stop shop – for all printed and digital content, including digital discounts

    · Customisation – ability to modularise and customise specific courseware from our entire catalogue

    · Collaboration – share and highlight amongst classes and for yourself

    · E-Reader – access content online and offline including your course notes

    · New Technology – Metro Windows 8 App at Windows 8 launch

    To find out more about the new features and how they can help you save costs and time as well as deliver great new technology courses and experiences for your students, sign up to one of our free webinars below.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals Sydney, Australia Day 1


    The Imagine Cup 2012 worldwide finals have just got underway down under and 72 software design teams from all around the world have gathered in Sydney, Australia to celebrate and compete in the 10th Imagine Cup worldwide finals. Team EyeWorks (Faizan Asghar, Northumbria University, Colin Squires, Newcastle College and Riccardo Viglianisi, Northumbria University) alongside their mentor Alamgir Hossain are flying the flag for the UK with their project MIRA (Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis system) which will enable the low-cost early detection of eye diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which are the current leading causes of blindness.

    It all kicked off at the airport this morning with competitors, mentors, judges and Microsoft staff flying in from all over the world to be greeted by a giant koala, a little treat organised by the Australian interns and MACHs. Here’s our UK team (minus Faizan for some reason) and their mentor Alamgir being greeted at the airport after a 24 hour flight!


    So day 1 kicked off with the students and staff having a quick bite to eat at the hotel before heading to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre where the Imagine Cup worldwide finals are held this year. Here we see a multitude of bright colours, amazing outfits and enthusiasm at another level. To see some more pictures of the Imagine Cup worldwide finals so far take a look at the official Imagine Cup 2012 Facebook page. At the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre students, mentors and staff register and pick up their freebies (in this case an Imagine Cup 2012 rucksack, water bottle, t-shirt and sweatshirt – not bad for a day’s swag), programme (where we see we have an upcoming ‘cultural day’ where students have the option of a Harbour Bridge Climb, Taronga Zoo etc, Karaoke, Group photo as well as the all-exciting presentations and award ceremonies!).


    After some team time where teams have broken off to practise their presentations and do some last minute tweaking it’s time for the Opening Ceremony. At the opening ceremony we had some key figures give inspirational and exciting talks about how students are at the forefront of innovation and how these Imagine Cup projects could become the next Microsoft or Facebook, 2 companies started by students. Prominent speakers included Dan’l Lewin (CVP for Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft), Adrian Piccolo (Minister of Education, NSW), Julia Gillard (Australian Prime Minister), Walid Abu-Habda (CVP, DPE Lead, Microsoft), Moorthy Uppaluri (General Manager – Academic Team, Microsoft), Pip Marlow (General Manager Australia, Microsoft) and Jessica Watson (youngest person to sail solo around the world, young Australian of the year and bestselling author).



    Following from all of the building excitement of the talks and keynote speeches there were of course giveaways. Four teams were awarded full dev conference passes and ALL worldwide finalists (approximately 375) were given a brand new Nokia Lumia 800 today, courtesy of Nokia.

    Now that’s day 1 wrapped up but there’ll be plenty more action from the Imagine Cup worldwide finals over the coming 5 days and if you want to watch the live stream you can do so here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    More Cloud Services on Project Hawaii


    windows phoneproject_hawaii


    Microsoft Research’s Project Hawaii extends the Windows Phone with the power of the cloud. The smartphone provides the sensors, mobility, and data; the cloud provides powerful algorithms to enable scenarios that would otherwise not be possible. The newly released Project Hawaii Software Development Kit (SDK) 2.0, developed by the Mobility and Research Group, has added four more cloud services to Project Hawaii’s existing line-up, namely:

    · Key value pair, which enables the storage of any data in the cloud—easily and quickly

    · Translation, which, well, translates from one language to another

    · Text to speech, which does just what its name implies

    · Path prediction, which narrows location searches based on the direction of travel

    Microsoft Research continues to offer Project Hawaii to a growing list of universities worldwide (50 by spring 2012), with more than 2,000 students already using the Hawaii SDK in the last year or so.

    Take a look at some of these exciting projects developed by students.

    If your interested in the opportunities of Hawaii Learn more about Project Hawaii by reading the following blog.

    If your interested in experimenting with Hawaii you can download the SDK.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Announces Imagine Cup 2012 Winners, Ukrainian Team Takes Top Place


    The winners of the 10th annual Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition, the winning Software Design project developed by Ukrainian Team quadSquad allows deaf individuals to communicate verbally using custom-designed sensory gloves and a smartphone application to translate sign language gestures into speech. Games focused on the environment from Thailand team TANG Thai and math education from U.S. team Drexel Dragons won the two Game Design competitions.

    The Imagine Cup 2012 competition winners were announced at the Imagine Cup World Festival and Awards Ceremony at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, in front of 106 student teams. The event was the culmination of a five-day celebration of technology, teamwork and innovation.

    More than 350 students from 75 countries travelled to Sydney after competing in local and online events, representing the best and brightest selected to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals. Cash prizes totalling approximately $175,000 (U.S.) were awarded across eight competition categories.

    Imagine Cup is more than a competition; it’s a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have an opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, set a clear business plan and even take their product to market. All Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finalist teams that competed in Sydney this year are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three-year, $3 million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. More information on Imagine Cup Grants can be found at http://www.imaginecup.com in the coming weeks. In addition, through the Microsoft BizSpark program, Imagine Cup participants can launch startup businesses in their communities and across the Web. More information on BizSpark can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark.

    Software and Game Design Winners at Imagine Cup 2012

    Team quadSquad from the Ukraine took top honors in the Software Design Competition with its device, Enable Talk, which uses a pair of gloves equipped with 15 flex sensors and a microcontroller that continuously recognize sign language patterns, which are then transmitted via Bluetooth to a Windows Phone device that uses the Microsoft Speech API and Bing API to translate the signs into audio. With its victory, the team won $25,000 (U.S.).

    Team quadSquad was not the only competitor whose project was designed to enhance the quality of life for the disabled. Twenty-three percent of Imagine Cup projects this year were created to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments and diseases that limit a human’s physical mobility.

    With millions of people around the world suffering from hearing and speech impairments, the team recognized the importance of developing a device that would allow individuals to be able to communicate more easily with others.

    In 2004, more than 275 million people globally had moderate to profound hearing impairment, 80 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent data.

    “We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing- and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else,” said Maxim Osika, Team quadSquad. “The Imagine Cup is an amazing experience; we’re thrilled to be here learning from the experts around us.”

    Teams competed in two Game Design competitions — Game Design: Xbox/Windows and Game Design: Phone. The winning games addressed social issues including poverty, environment and sustainability, education, and community involvement. In Game Design: Xbox/Windows, TANG Thai, from Thailand, focused on protecting the environment and preventing deforestation. In Game Design: Phone, Drexel Dragons, from the United States, created an engaging game designed to teach math and problem solving in new ways to elementary school students. Each first-place team received $8,000 (U.S.).

    The following are the winners in the core Imagine Cup Competitions:

    1. Software Design. Students create innovative software, service solutions and real-world applications that unleash the power of technology to benefit their community or, perhaps, the entire planet.

    · First Place: quadSquad (Ukraine)

    · Second Place: Coccolo (Japan)

    · Third Place: wi-GO (Portugal)

    2. Game Design. Students select one of two tracks (Phone or Xbox/Windows) to create games that not only are fun but also help to improve the world at the same time.


    · First Place: TANG Thai (Thailand)

    · Second Place: The Doers (Brazil)

    · Third Place: Hotfix (Belgium)


    · First Place: Drexel Dragons (United States)

    · Second Place: Ecosia (France)

    · Third Place: Turtle Games (Hungary)

    Winners of Imagine Cup Challenges

    In addition to the core Imagine Cup Competitions, students were able to compete in five online Challenges. These Challenges provided opportunities for students to compete for an additional $75,000 (U.S.) cash, as well as other prizes. The following are the Challenge winners:

    1. IT Challenge. Students are tested on their knowledge of IT systems and faced with unique scenarios to solve, competing for title of best of the best in the industry.

    · First Place: Alexandru Ticlea (Romania)

    · Second Place: Sherif Talaat (Egypt)

    · Third Place: Joshua Sim (Singapore)

    2. Kinect Fun Labs Challenge Sponsored by Microsoft Studios. This challenge brings the Imagine Cup into the living room by asking students to think about entertainment with a social conscience.

    · First Place: Team Interlab (Brazil)

    · Second Place: Team Whiteboard Pirates (United States)

    · Third Place: Team Flexifly (Poland)

    3. Windows Azure Challenge. Students leverage the Windows Azure platform features to build Web applications that help solve the world’s toughest problems.

    · First Place: Virtual Dreams Azure (Brazil)

    · Second Place: Complex (Romania)

    · Third Place: The Klein Team (Algeria)

    4. Windows Metro Style App Challenge sponsored by Microsoft Windows. With this challenge, Microsoft is inviting students to be at the forefront of creating applications for the new Windows 8 platform.

    · First Place: Virtual Dreams Metro (Brazil)

    · Second Place: nLife (Ukraine)

    · Third Place: TokTok (Korea)

    5. Windows Phone Challenge sponsored by Nokia. Students are challenged to create an XAP application that not only will help solve the world toughest problems, but also that people will love having on their Windows Phones.

    · First Place: Vivid (Egypt)

    · Second Place: The Stack (Poland)

    · Third Place: Aaltovation (Finland)

    The People Have Spoken: Team D Labs From India Honored at Imagine Cup

    The People’s Choice Award sponsored by Bing is the only Imagine Cup award that is determined by the public, and it includes a $10,000 (U.S.) prize. The D Labs created software to help dyslexic children use games to learn more effectively by using Kinect for Xbox 360. Parents can also track their children’s progress by reviewing data captured by the solution, which is stored on Windows Azure.

    Recognizing Environmental and Sustainability Projects

    In addition to the above awards, Microsoft and Coca-Cola are proud to present the winners of the Health Awareness Award and Environmental Sustainability Award for two projects that tackle the world’s toughest health and environmental issues. The following winning teams will receive $10,000 (U.S.):

    · Health Awareness Award winners:

    o First Place: Italian Ingenium Team (Italy)

    · Environmental Sustainability Award winners:

    o First Place: Greenway (Germany)

    Imagine Cup 2013 Heads to Russia

    As is tradition at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals, Pip Marlow, general manager of Microsoft Australia, participated in the ceremonial flag passing to mark the transition of host country duties. Nikolay Pryanishnikov, general manager of Microsoft Russia, was on hand to accept the flag on behalf of Russia, which will host the 11th annual Imagine Cup in St. Petersburg in July 2013.

    Online Resources

    Videos and other resources are available at on the Microsoft Imagine Cup Virtual Press Room. Additional photos and videos can be found through the Imagine Cup Flickr page or YouTube site.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft UK Windows 8 App Excellence Labs



    In the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of UK academics, students and educators  who are passionate and excited about the opportunities with Windows 8. Now, we would like to share how to get early access into the Windows Store for your Windows 8 app via the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs (AEL).

    What is the App Excellence Lab?

    The App Excellence Lab is a 2-hour engagement with a trained Microsoft Services Engineer who will run your app through a series of tests based on a quality checklist to ensure your app is (or will be) in top-notch shape when you submit. You will also get a chance discuss ways to make your app even better and you will get answers to any questions you might have. Of course, the Labs are the singular path for motivated developers to gain early access to the Store, allowing you to receive an account, register your app and get a head start in publishing your app.

    Who is it for?

    The App Excellence Labs are open to developers who have almost completed their app as well as to developers who are in their early development/ideation cycle who would benefit from a consultation with Windows Engineer. Bottom line is that you will be able to work with a client expert who can rapidly help you accelerate your development.

    When and where are the App Excellence Labs held?

    The App Excellence Labs are held Monday to Friday at the Microsoft Campus in Thames Valley Park (Reading). We highly recommend you to attend in person, however, if for any reason you are unable to attend in person, we do offer a virtual option for you to join via Live Meeting. Please see the time slots listed below.

    Below is the list of current times available for App Excellence Labs sign up.

    We hope to see many of you at the App Excellence Labs and your apps in the Store.

    Please follow the 4 simple steps to sign up to the App Excellence Labs.

    Step One

    Register and log in to https://win8.msregistration.com

    Step Two

    Once you have successfully logged in, please complete the Application Profile Survey. Our Windows 8 consultant will use this information to work with you on your app during before and during the App Excellence Lab.

    Step Three

    Under the 'Notes' section of the Application Profile Survey, please enter the following information:

    Date/Time of your preferred App Excellence Lab(by choosing two preferred times/dates of the ones listed above)

    Choose your preference of In-person or virtualApp Excellence Lab (by stating In Person or Virtual).

    Step Four

    Click on 'New Application Profile' once you've completed your profile and stated your preferred date/time & in-person and virtual preference. We will then get in touch with you to confirm your Windows 8 App Excellence Lab.

    Note: If for any reason, you do not receive a response or confirmation from us within 3 working days, please drop an email to ukmsdn@microsoft.com with your App Excellence Lab details.  

    Help & Support for the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs Booking & Attendance

    Please either call 0845 073 7159 or email v-jat@microsoft.com

    Note: If for any reason, you do not receive a response or confirmation from us within 2 working days, please drop an email to v-jat@microsoft.com with your App Excellence Lab details.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 Social Media resources


    We are saddened to say that our UK team didn't make it to the Imagine Cup finals.

    @TeamEyeWorks (Faizan Asghar, Northumbria University, Colin Squires, Newcastle College and Riccardo Viglianisi, Northumbria University) alongside their mentor Alamgir Hossain with their project MIRA (Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis system) which will enable the low-cost early detection of eye diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which are the current leading causes of blindness.

    They did an amazing job! Here are some resources to keep up to date with the Imagine Cup Finals.






    Search for the hashtag #Imaginecup







    Facebook: www.facebook.com/microsoftimaginecup
    Social Media Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imaginecupsocialmediateam


    Imagine Cup WW Finals Venue PhotoSynth


    Official Blog: www.imaginecup.com/blogs/default.aspx

    Imagine Cup Social Media Team Blog http://icsocialmediateam.com/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    How to build a Windows Phone app in 30 days


    The Generation App website, from the Windows Phone team, is a really well structured guide to developing apps for the Windows Phone. And ‘well structured’ means that it talks you through a 30-day plan to design, build, test, distribute and monetize applications for Windows Phone – and connects to all of the resources you will need in the form of training, documentation, tools etc.

    Don't forget as Educators, Academics and Students you get access to DreamSpark so you get Visual Studio 2010, Windows Phone and Azure tools for FREE and also a FREE Apphub Account to upload your finished apps to the marketplace.



    For students, it’s almost like a ready-made summer school course, and where you’ve got students who are already programming, but want to move onto advanced projects, this seems like just the perfect resource.

    Remember, we have lots more FREE academic resources available at Microsoft Faculty Connection resources including a full academic curricula for Windows Phone see http://www.Microsoft.com/faculty

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