Microsoft Research is making a whiteboard that finishes sketches

Last week, Microsoft reopened its Envisioning Center in its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, which presented the company's view of how technology would enter the workplace and the home in the near future. This week, Microsoft offered up a specific future technology idea that could be used in business settings.

The BBC reports that the project, from the Microsoft Research division, is called SketchInsight. It's a touchscreen interactive whiteboard concept that has been made so that users who sketch on the screen can have their creations finished by the whiteboard's technology.

Currently, multimedia presentations, such as the ones made by users of Microsoft's own PowerPoint software, must all be created in advance. SketchInsight would help save time in the creation process by allowing the whiteboard's processing power to interpret what the user is presenting via pre-loaded data. One example was offered by Microsoft Research's Bongshin Lee.

By drawing stick figures Dr Lee can bring up a graph showing the spread of the population covered by the study, and then by sketching a battery alongside it she can bring up another chart illustrating how specific groups of people use different amounts of power.

Obviously, this research project is a long way from showing up in a big company's board room but it does show that Microsoft is looking at how people interact with so-called "big data" in new ways.

Source: BBC | Image via Microsoft

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Funny, nearly all of the home-based predictions in the 1999 "Home of the Future" model have since come true, apart from the proprietary technology/formats that are mentioned:

- A high-speed wireless home network that enables users to play music and videos or display family photographs, anywhere they want on any intelligent device

- [Read: Personal audio players] Windows Media(tm) Audio player, which downloads twice as fast as MP3 and has double the music storage, plus powerful anti-piracy protection

- The evolution of WebTV Network(tm) service with on-demand programming, personalized viewing, Web-enhanced content and powerful communications built in

- The next generation of gaming, offering online competition with voice interaction, immersive audio, unmatched 3-D graphics and the option of parental control

Wow, Microsoft is wasting their research group on this? They need to have them figuring out how to knock the bottom out with the next version of Windows, so that MS can save themselves from the disaster that is Windows 8. I would think that would be a little more important than some bull**** that will never see the light of day (Courier tablet anyone?).

> touch interface for summarizing large amounts of data
> thinks it can't be used in some way to augment Windows

I'm sorry, what?

Microsoft is so much more than just Windows... I'm glad companies are pushing forwards looking at new things rather than just 'updating' all the time.

People like you should not be able to speak or comment on the web. This is innovation and can definitely be used in future versions of Windows, Excel, and any other data-graphing or whiteboard apps. It's actually really awesome and useful. I can already find lots of uses for that in my workplace.

God forbid they change anything! People are too lazy or stupid to use their turn signals when operating a death machine, let alone do without their start menu on their home PC.

As if the entirety of Microsoft Research is focusing on this.

This is research, they may very well implement this in future products. I wouldn't be surprised in them implementing technology similar to this in OneNote, or something similar.