Microsoft Sponsors University Innovation in Emerging Technologies – Stories

Auseraccesseshiscalendarfortheentireweekonhislaptop,andatthesametimeusehisPDAscreentoseethedetailsofasingledaysschedule,usingPiercesPersonalInformationEnvironmenttechnology。

Clickimageforhi-resversion。

NowanassistantprofessorinthecomputersciencedepartmentattheGeorgiaInstituteofTechnology,Pierceandhiscolleagueshavejumpstartedaresearchprojectthataimstoreplacetheoldcomputermodelofonedeviceatatimewithanewparadigm,inwhichavarietyofdevicessuchaslaptops,desktopPCs,PDAsandcellphonesareawareofoneanotherandtheiruser,andcancoordinatetheiractivities。

ThisrovingPersonalInformationEnvironmentwilleventuallyallowausertoaddotherdevices,suchasmonitors,keyboardsandmice,ontheflyandfromanylocation。

Ausercarryingacellphone,forinstance,couldconnectthedevicetoanynearbymonitortodisplayhermonthlyschedule,ratherthantryingtoviewitonthecellphonessmallscreen。

PiercesambitiousvisionhascaughttheattentionofMicrosoftResearch(MSR),thecompanyscomputer-sciencearm,whichthisyearisawardingfundingfortheprojectaspartofitsannualInnovationExcellenceprogram。

GeorgiaTech,inAtlanta,isoneofmorethan24universitiesaroundtheglobeawardedfundingfromMSRtoconductresearchindifferentareasofemergingtechnology。

MSRwillannouncetherecipientsofthisyearsawardprogramatSIGCSE2003,anannualtechnologysymposiumdevotedtocomputerscienceeducation,takingplacefromFeb。

19-23inReno,Nev。

Nowinitssecondyear,theInnovationExcellenceprogramreflectsMicrosoftscommitmenttostrengthencollaborationbetweenthecompanyandacademiaindevelopingnewandadvancedtechnologies。

Thisyeartheprogramgarnered152submissions,almostdoublethenumberreceivedlastyear,andwillawardUS$3。

5milliontothevariouschosenprojects。

Westronglybelieveuniversitiesarekeycollaboratorsindrivingnewinnovationthatimpactssociety,saysDouglasLeland,directorofMSRsUniversityRelationsGroup。

Bycollaboratingtogetherwehopetoadvancenotonlythedialogueofinnovation,butthepaceofinnovationaswell。

MSRwillplacenorestrictionsonhowthemoneyisused,and,whilethereisaremarkablediversityofprojects,theyfallintofivemainareasofemergingtechnology:mobility,security,distributedcomputing,learningsciences,andTabletPCtechnologies。

AJump-StartonInnovation

AtGeorgiaTech,PierceplanstousethegiftfromMSRtohireagraduateassistanttoworkontheprojectandtoprovideequipmenttosomeofhisstudentssothattheyalsocanworkondifferentaspectsoftheproject。

AsanewfacultymemberatGeorgiaTech,MSRsfundingisinvaluablebecauseitallowsmetogetaheadstartonmyresearch。

Inonlymysecondsemesterhere,Icangetstudentsstartedoninterestingpartsoftheoverallprojectandagraduateassistanttohelpoverseeit,Piercesays。

ThefirstphaseofPiercesresearchwillcenteronmakingdevicesjustalittlebitsmartersothattheycandosomeofthecoordinationamongdevicesthatuserscurrentlyhavetodoforthemselves。

UsersmaysynchronizethedataontheirPDAanddesktopPC,buttheyreallyarentusingthesedevicestogether,saysPierce。

ItypicallyworkwithmyPDAdockednexttomylaptop,butdespitethefactthattheyrebothmydevicesandsittingrightnexttoeachother,theyarentabletoreallyaugmenteachother。

ThegoalsoftheGeorgiaTechprojectaretwofold。

OneistomakeadevicelikethePDAaugmentthedesktopbyprovidinginformationorcontrolsfocusedonenhancingtheusersinteractionwiththedesktop。

Forexample,ifyoureworkingonadocumentinMicrosoftWordonyourdesktop,itcanbecounterproductivetotogglebetweenapplicationstoseeifimportante-mailiswaitinginyourinboxorwhomightbeavailableviainstantmessagingtoansweryourquestions。

PierceandhiscolleagueswanttobeabletooffloadthatkindofinformationtothePDAsothatyoucouldsimplyglanceoveratyourPDAtoseethatyouhavee-mailfromyourboss,reachoverwithoneofyourhandsandtouchthatinformationtopullituponyourdesktopscreen,addressit,andthencontinuetoworkonyourproject。

TheothergoaloftheprojectinvolvesenablingPDAsandcellphonessothatotherdeviceslikemonitorsandkeyboardscanbeconnectedtothemonthefly,therebyincreasingmobileusersproductivity。

Mobiledeviceswillneverbelargebecauseusersneedtobeabletoslipthemintheirpockets。

Wewanttoaugmentthemsothatuserscandrawonotherdevicesintheenvironmentthatwillallowthemtointeractasiftheywerecarryingalargekeyboard,mouseanddisplaywiththem,saysPierce。

BecausePiercesprojectisfocusedonusersinteractingwithmultipledevices,theresearchiscenteredonsystemsthatarerunningtheMicrosoftWindowsCEandWindowsXPoperatingsystems。

StudentsareusingMicrosoftVisualStudio。

NETandMicrosoftseMbeddedVisualToolstodevelopprototypeapplicationsforevaluation,andPiercehopestoexploreusingthe。

NETCompactFrameworkandC#tocreatecross-functionalityamongdevices。

BetterClassroomTechnologyViatheTabletPC

WhilethegoaloftheGeorgiaTechprojectistoincreaseproductivitybydevelopingaPersonalInformationEnvironment,anotherawardrecipientthistimeintheLearningSciencescategoryisfocusingonincreasingthequalityofclassroompresentationsbydevelopingbettertechnologybasedontheTabletPC。

Oneofthebiggestfrustrationsthatcollegefacultyfaceishowtogivepresentationsbasedonlectureslidesandstillremainflexibleininteractingwiththestudentsintheclassroom,saysRichardAnderson,professorofcomputerscienceattheUniversityofWashington(UW)inSeattle。

Tosolvethisproblem,AndersonhasbeenworkingintandemwithMicrosoftresearcherstodevelopanddeployaTabletPC-basedlecturepresentationsystemthatresearchershopewillincreaseopportunitiesforinteractionwithstudents。

Usingthissystem,aninstructorholdsaTabletPCthatiswirelesslyconnectedtoanothercomputerdrivingaclassroomprojector。

TheinstructordisplaysslidesfromaTabletPCandcancustomizethelecturebywritingnotesontopoftheslidesandinthemarginsofthescreen。