Inside the Garage at Microsoft New England

| MSNE Staff

We’re launching The Garage in the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge to be a space where Microsoft employees, partners, and friends can come and bring their ideas to life!

The Garage is a space where people make all kinds of ideas into reality. From Ink to Code to Project Santorini to Work Item Studio — all of these amazing new apps were made realities in the Garage right here in Cambridge.

“We want the Garage to be a place where our customers, partners and people in the industry feel comfortable coming to engage with Microsoft in conversations about growth and innovation,” says Linda Thackeray, Director of The Garage at Microsoft New England.

The Garage program is a platform for employee and team-led innovation at Microsoft. The space serves as a hub to engage our workforce, with facilities and programs optimized for hacking, ideation, and collaboration. At the Garage, we provide a space for employees and our community alike to put their ideas on the table and use technology to bring those ideas to fruition. Through equipment, demonstrations, hackathons, and more, visitors to the Garage and Microsoft employees alike are given the opportunity to explore intelligent technologies, such as the Microsoft AI Platform and Microsoft Cognitive Services.

Through more than 40 hackathons annually, including an annual global Hackathon, plus a non-traditional internship program and an experimental outlet, the Garage is proud to offer facilities and programs optimized for hacking, ideation, and collaboration.

The Garage is more than just an experimental program; it’s an introduction to artificial intelligence technologies and experiences. Reality Rooms allow Microsoft employees to engage with the latest in augmented, virtual, and mixed reality spaces, working on technologies like HoloLens. Apps built in the Garage, like Outings and Personal Shopping Assistant, are helping users transform their digital experiences on a daily basis.

Our iconic Garage red wall is up!

We’re excited to announce the complete renovation of our NERD Center that includes a brand-new Garage facility. Starting this spring, the space will be available for reservations through our Garage team, bringing hackathons, workshops, and a dedicated Garage intern team to the Kendall Square community to foster innovation.

The Garage will include:

  • Space for Garage events, presentations and workshops that will inspire experimentation and collaboration.
  • Space for makers and innovators who work with tools, materials, and equipment for prototyping.
  • A Reality Room, for hands-on access to Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Reality equipment, all in one place.
  • A gathering and work space for Garage interns, where university students work in a unique, entrepreneurial style to create and launch independent projects.

“Programs and activities that promote a maker mindset are crucial for community innovation,” says Martin Culpepper, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and local maker. “Having a space like the Garage in Cambridge will allow the community to use technology in ways they’ve never dreamed.”

We recognize that our customers — regardless of the industry they’re in — are interested in evolving their cultures and are seeking opportunities for growth and innovation, and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned on our journey so far.

While our space is still under construction, you can see below for a sneak peek into our renovations:

The new Microsoft Garage at NERD will open at the end of April — and we’re excited to share the excitement as we open the new space. Follow us here and on social media for more looks behind the scenes.