The Applied Sciences Group plays a critical role in helping bring some of Microsoft’s top innovations to fruition. The team helped work on the following well-known Microsoft products.
- Hardware: Helped create the high resolution tilt scroll wheel and the laser mouse tracking engine
- Surface: Worked with Microsoft Research to develop Surface
- Xbox: Contributed to the recently announced "Project Natal"
The Applied Sciences Group forms, starting with original member Steven Bathiche. Innovations developed during this time that became available to the public in later years include high-resolution scroll-wheel and tilt-wheel concepts; optical tracking; the pointer ballistics algorithm that ships in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7; and capacitive-touch power management in the first optical wireless mouse. Most if not all were developed in collaboration with specific members of Microsoft Research and a number of hardware initiatives.
The Applied Sciences Group’s role becomes more successful, and the Hardware group continues to invest in its function. In 2002, the group grows from one to five members. As it grows, the number of projects exponentially rises, and innovations from this time include a prototype for a surface computer.
Two more members join the group, and a subgroup is formed around emerging display and integrated sensing. This team focuses on creating new surface computing technologies and develops what became known as the Microsoft PixelSense (formerly Microsoft Surface) computer.
Four more people join the team and continue generating and fostering futuristic innovations, including a Surface application that recognizes drinking glasses and also detects the fluid level in each when they are placed on the table, alerting serving staff that a drink needs to be refilled if the table is being used in a restaurant setting.
The Xbox team invests in the Applied Sciences Group, and team member Johnny Lee is hired to contribute to code-named “Project Natal.” Also during this time, Dan Rosenfeld and colleagues from Microsoft Research initiate the multi-touch mouse project effort known as Mouse 2.0.
The Applied Sciences Group introduces a multitouch mouse prototype to the public. The group of 13 continues to develop cutting-edge technologies and product concepts. Currently there are more than 20 active projects.