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With the help of a laser-range finder, a laptop and a Microsoft Kinect, researchers at MIT have created a wearable piece of equipment that can map out a building in real time.

The prototype, called SLAM (short for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), was announced today.

Essentially, SLAM operates as a second pair of eyes by generating a virtual map of the user’s location (think: real-time strategy video games.) Creators of the device say they hope firefighters and emergency personnel will use the device to help them more easily navigate through thick smoke during fire emergencies.

Watch the video above to learn more. How else can real-time mapping be used? Let us know your thoughts below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GEEK ASiA

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/26/mit-microsoft-kinect-mapping/

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Microsoft’s Surface 2 unveiling on Sept. 23, 2013, was the first event where the Surface Mini was expected. Microsoft instead killed the product months later.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

Microsoft has confirmed it cancelled plans to release a Surface Mini tablet in the spring.

During Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call, CFO Amy Hood said that part of the reason revenue from the company’s line of Surface tablets took a hit was because it had decided to kill an unreleased product.

“During the quarter, we reassessed our product roadmap and decided not to ship a new form factor that was under development,” Hood said. While she doesn’t identify the Surface Mini by name, other reports claimed Microsoft has scrapped plans to release the tablet late in the game, then the company accidentally confirmed the product’s existence in a user manual that referenced the Mini directly.

The decision to take the ax to the Surface Mini was reportedly influenced by CEO Satya Nadella, whose bid to reshape Microsoft includes a clear focus on productivity. While the company has many consumer-facing products (notably Xbox), Windows devices have been criticized as not serving small-screen tablet market as well as iPads and Android models, and market statistics reflect this.

The small-screen tablet market has grown quickly over the past two years, but Windows didn’t support those designs until fall 2013 with the release of Windows 8.1. It appeared inevitable that the Surface line would get a Mini version after that, but since smaller tablets are inherently more about consumption than productivity, such a product wouldn’t fit with Nadella’s vision of the new Microsoft.

When Microsoft held the next Surface product launch in May, it instead announced the Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch tablet that runs full Windows 8.1 Pro, powered by an Intel Core processor.

Other manufacturers have filled the void with small Windows tablets, and most run Windows 8.1, powered by Intel Atom chips. Lenovo was reportedly going to stop selling small Windows tablets in the U.S. due to lack of demand, but the company quickly reaffirmed its commitment to different-size tablets and said it would bring a new small Windows tablet to the American market before the end of 2014.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/07/23/surface-mini-killed/

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Xbox Video and Xbox Games are coming to Windows 8; this means that starting on Oct. 26 — when Microsoft’s latest OS launches — users will be able to purchase and rent content from the Xbox Video store on their Windows 8 devices.

What’s more, they can browse the Xbox Games catalog for titles that are PC-compatible, including games that can interact with the Xbox console. Along with the new Xbox Music service, this brings a host of new entertainment options to Windows 8 right at launch.

Until now, Microsoft hasn’t offered access to its video catalog outside of the Xbox. When Windows only ran on laptops and desktops, this made sense. After all, users could download or stream video from various services, not to mention watch DVDs. But now that the Surface and other Windows 8 tablets and hybrids are about to hit the market, having access to a more robust content ecosystem is essential.

Plus, with Xbox SmartGlass, Windows 8 users will be able to push video from their Xbox to a Windows 8 device (or vice versa) with the tap of a button.

While the title selection of the Xbox Video store isn’t as comprehensive as what iTunes offers, the catalog still has a wide selection for both movies and TV. For users who are already invested in their Xbox ecosystem, bringing the content onto the PC is a no-brainer.

Microsoft says it’s committed to extending the Xbox brand beyond gaming, and moving beyond the console. It’s no wonder: Xbox is one of the most valuable brands within Microsoft. Bringing Xbox services and extending its content to more devices only makes that brand more powerful.

Xbox Video and Xbox Games are just the latest entertainment-focused apps to hit Windows 8. Last week, Netflix released its official app for the OS. On Monday, Hulu Plus got the Windows 8 treatment, and it looks great.

Again, the real potential of these app-specific developments is when you look at Windows RT tablets, such as the Microsoft Surface. Out of the gate, Windows 8 will have support for the biggest entertainment video platforms and the ability to easily connect to an Xbox account to play games or view achievements. In the future, we can envision multiplayer games getting released on Xbox and Windows 8 simultaneously, with the option of users picking up a match from one device to the next.

Are you excited about Xbox content making its way to Windows 8? Let us know in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/23/xbox-video-xbox-games-apps-windows-8/

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Image: Microsoft

The Xbox One is getting a white edition this holiday, which Microsoft announced at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday.

The white Xbox One is part of the Sunset Overdrive bundle, which comes with a code for a digital copy of the game, the white console and a white controller.

The Xbox One bundle is going to retail for $399 in the United States (€399.99 in Europe). It will hit shelves on Oct. 28 in the U.S. and Oct. 31 in Europe.

During Gamescom, Microsoft also announced two other bundles for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and FIFA ’15; the latter will only be available in Europe. None of the Xbox One console bundles included the Kinect motion sensor, which Microsoft disconnected from the Xbox One in May.

Sunset Overdrive is a post-apocalyptic game set in a vibrant, weird world. It’s exclusive to Xbox One and developed by Insomniac Games.

Originally, only Microsoft employees received a white Xbox One, which they were given as a launch gift last November.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/08/12/white-xbox-one-bundle/

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It’s rapidly starting to look like your best chance at getting a Surface tablet in the next couple weeks is to head over to a Microsoft retail store, unless your order’s already in. For those of you planning to make the trek, Microsoft has revealed an additional incentive to help sweeten the deal, offering some customers a year’s worth of premium Xbox Music service.

We talked about Xbox Music a little last week, when Microsoft announced the cross-platform streaming service. While it’s going to be free as an ad-supported edition on Windows 8 devices, a premium $10 monthly subscription is needed to access the service through Xbox consoles and smartphones.

As part of Friday’s launch event, the first 100 people in line at any Microsoft retail store will be eligible for the free Xbox Music Pass. Microsoft seems to imply that the purchase of a Surface tablet is required for the offer, but the terms and conditions leave a bit more leeway; you might just be able to get away with any purchase in the store — but don’t quote us on that.

The offer should be good at both full Microsoft retail stores and its pop-up kiosks erected for the Surface launch.

This article originally published at Pocketnow
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/23/microsoft-surface-xbox-music/

The Xbox One’s entertainment control features are coming to its second screen Smartglass app, and some users will get the update Tuesday, Microsoft announced in a blog post.

The Xbox One’s OneGuide, which allows users to pick shows and movies from both live television and their subscribed video-on-demand apps while on the console, is rolling out through SmartGlass on tablets and phones. After users launch SmartGlass on an iOS, Android or Windows device, they can pick from selections on television imported by their cable provider, browse their Hulu Plus queue or see the most recent channels they’ve watched.

The SmartGlass version of OneGuide can also mimic some functions of a universal remote, controlling the television, cable or satellite set-top box and the Xbox One.

Xbox Director of Programming Larry Hryb and head of Xbox TV Ben Smith previewed some of the features in a video released Tuesday, playable above. Some Xbox Live users will start seeing the features on Tuesday, and it will slowly roll out across the United States, Canada and Europe as the Xbox team collects feedback, Smith said.

This update will also deliver OneGuide to the Xbox One in countries where it was not previously available, such as the UK, Canada, France and Germany.

There are a few other SmartGlass features rolled in to the update, like the ability to see which Xbox Live friends are online and send them messages from the app.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/04/01/smartglass-remote-xbox-one/

Xbox One Unveil Video

It’s taken almost nine years, but the new XBox has just been unveiled, not as the 1080 as many fans speculated, but simply as the XBox One. 

Besides for a new Kinect sensor and controller, gamers can expect Microsoft’s fourth generation console to be a truly all-in-one entertainment machine, with live TV, Skype, social networking, and more. 

The unveiling video of the new console has instantly gone viral, amassing over 1.5 million views in one day. 

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2013/05/22/xbox-one-unveil-video/