How refugees enrich their new homes with hope, resilience and grit

Former refugee and Mercy Corps worker Farhad Agajan poses with arms crossed at a refugee camp in Greece

The house was empty when he got home from school one afternoon. Eight-year-old Farhad Agajan wandered out to ask if any neighbors had seen his mother or siblings. Crying and increasingly frantic, he reached the home of a relative who lived nearby and heard the words that changed him forever: “He gave me some money, and he told me, ‘Your life is in danger. Take this and leave, immediately,’” Agajan … Read more »

Watch an animated guide to the internet of things on the latest episode of ‘Explanimators’

In the next few years, we will see the arrival of some 30 to 50 billion connected devices. The internet of things will allow unprecedented creation and sharing of data. And, by analyzing all of that information, we will learn how to improve different aspects of our lives and create new experiences in the home, the workplace and beyond. Now you can learn everything you need to know about the … Read more »

Inside the high-tech, high-stakes race to keep the cloud secure

A neon sign in the shape of a cloud

At any point in time on any day of the week, Microsoft’s cloud computing operations are under attack: The company detects a whopping 1.5 million attempts a day to compromise its systems. Microsoft isn’t just fending off those attacks. It’s also learning from them. All those foiled attacks, along with data about the hundreds of billions of emails and other pieces of information that flow to and from Microsoft’s cloud … Read more »

Motor City style meets Microsoft tech at Detroit Wallpaper Company

“Wallpaper, huh?” That’s the question many people asked Andi Kubacki and Josh Young at their first design trade show, in the spring of 2013. The reaction was understandable. Maligned for its frumpy patterns and agonizing adhesives, wallpaper was long relegated to the décor dustbin. But a new generation is discovering wallpaper, and Kubacki and Young are at the vanguard of its revival. The Detroit Wallpaper Company, which they co-founded, specializes … Read more »

Watch an easy guide to everything AI on ‘Explanimators,’ a new video series from Microsoft Story Labs

Who says that cartoons are for kids? Artificial intelligence (AI) kicks off the Microsoft Story Labs animated “Explanimators” series about big, important, cutting-edge areas of technology that remain mysterious (if not just plain confusing) to people who don’t have an engineering or computer science degree. While artificial intelligence is increasingly all around us, helping people do more, save time and work smarter – let’s be honest – it’s tricky to … Read more »

Fusionist Asta Roseway’s bold vision for the future of design, tech – and just about everything else

Researcher and fusionist Asta Roseway is pictured in an illustrated landscape featuring stylized flowers, a mountain range and a starry night sky

FoodFutures, an exhibition addressing food production needs in the year 2050, melds the seemingly strange bedfellows of urban farming, machine learning, research engineering and design. Its self-sustaining hydroponic and aquaponic farm modules use computer vision analysis to maximize efficient yield and crop health. The retro-futurist aesthetics nod to 2050 while remaining approachable and inspiring discussion about the challenges of feeding a world facing increasing climate change and urbanization. “The project … Read more »

Talking DevOps, hardcore air hockey and more with Donovan Brown

Spoof movie poster for "The Man in the Black Shirt" starring Donovan Brown

Donovan Brown was a new technical seller at Microsoft struggling with a demo when he sent the email that changed his life. “I had completely hosed the VM [virtual machine] I was using,” Brown recalled. He sent a desperate, cold-call email to a technical evangelist for help, which led to an invite for Brown to demo on stage, which led to a meteoric career rise. Three years later, the once-unknown … Read more »

Alberto Cairo, Power BI & the rise of data journalism

Data journalist Alberto Cairo working at his computer

From the election of Pope Francis to the passing of Nelson Mandela to Miley Cyrus’ MTV #twerk heard ’round the world, 2013 was full of big headlines and viral hits. Yet The New York Times’ top story of the year was the humble result of a vocabulary survey of 350,000 randomly selected Americans conducted by a then-intern at the paper. Instead of presenting these findings in a written article, “How … Read more »

How six scrappy young inventors built a breakthrough text-to-Braille translator device

The six members of Team Tactile stand side by side

A group of engineering students knew exactly what they wanted to build at a student technology competition, and they had just 15 hours to do it. As they worked furiously alongside other MIT students, the young women hit a series of snags. They had to wait in long lines to use the 3D printer and laser cutter they needed to shape various parts for their project. Some of the supplies … Read more »

Microsoft researchers explore using computer science to help ‘solve’ cancer

Sketch of a man's face with a microscope in front of it

At Microsoft’s research labs around the world, computer scientists, programmers, engineers and other experts are trying to crack some of the computer industry’s toughest problems, from system design and security to quantum computing and data visualization. A subset of those scientists, engineers and programmers have a different goal: They’re trying to use computer science to solve one of the most complex and deadly challenges humans face: cancer. “We’re in a … Read more »