Real Blue Monster Stuff


I spent a day at Microsoft Research in Cambridge yesterday and though I’ve been there before and seen projects like SenseCam yesterday I was truly blown away.

The work that this lab in Cambridge does is really quite astonishing. I sat with a group of Microsoft staff and distinguished visitors and was in awe of Stephen Emmot and his team. They talked us through two incredible projects with such nonchalance it was almost funny. The first by Drew Purves focused on Understanding and Predicting Forest Dynamics and in turn the world climate. The second by Andrew Philipps was focused on understanding the workings of Biological systems.

Both of these projects have the potential to radically change our world – seriously. This is big big impact stuff.

What amazed all of us in the room is the lack of knowledge about this type of work from Microsoft. I think it would dramatically change opinion on Microsoft as a company. Why? Well neither of those projects has any real relevance to Microsoft’s core business but we’re investing heavily in employing outstandingly smart people and letting them go do smart things. If they turn in to products that’s great. If not, that’s no problem.

The day reminded me that I work for one or the worlds most incredible companies doing a wider range of work than any of us really can imagine. The travesty is that we need to tell these stories more to help people realize that Microsoft isn’t just about Windows, Office and Bill Gates. It’s way way more than that.

If you have the time and interest, please take a look at Science 2020 to learn more or if you don’t have the time, just take a look at SenseCam.

Comments (3)
  1. jamiet says:

    woah. You could record your whole life on that thing.

    Now imagine if every shot was time and geo-coded – wow.


  2. jamie – that was the original idea behind it though obv some privacy issues. at the moment there is not GPS but that is the question I asked too….would be a great addition!

  3. alasdair says:

    not so sure .. recording your whole life doesn’t say that much about you, to be honest. like most CCTV it’s tedious until an event happens.

    Now if it recorded images when you blushed, laughed  or you had elevated heart rate or high adrenalin,  great anxiety  or increased brain activity THAT would be fascinating – you’d really learn something about yourself.

    I’m a bit worried I’m starting to sound like Kevin Warwick

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