Sensors and Devices

The Sensors and Devices Group invents and builds new interactive devices and experiences for users, leveraging recent developments across a broad range of technologies such as sensors, displays, wireless communications and device fabrication. We aim to seed new devices and technologies in the market and ultimately to change people’s perceptions of technology and how it can be used.

We complement the hardware, software and design skills in our group by working closely with collaborators from other disciplines across Microsoft and the wider community. The I3D group spun out of Sensors and Devices in 2012 to focus on various forms of 3D interaction based on novel hardware and algorithms, ultimately leading to Holoportation. In 2014 the Connected Play Initiative was also split out from the group as a separate initiative.

Here are some selected projects from the group:

 battery_lifetime bbc_micro_bit cs_tile disruptive_displays embedded_uls fs_tile hd_tile kf_tile mk_tile ng_tile p_tile ph_tile ap_tile rfid_performance rich_annotation sl_tile sc_tile sns_tile ss_tile sp_tile ts_tile tm_tile vm_tile


Can the Micro Bit inspire a million?Steve Hodges, principal researcher in Microsoft’s Cambridge, U.K. research lab, discusses the impact the Micro Bit mini-computer can have on the one million school children who will be coding on the robust devices. BBC News · 29 March 2016

How to inkjet-print an electronic circuitSteve Hodges, head of the sensors and devices group at Microsoft’s Cambridge U.K. research lab, wants to make it easy to prototype electronic devices, so he’s found a way to print circuits with an inkjet printer. Wired · 10 July 2015

Microsoft and the micro:bit: A million ways to inspire a generationLater this year the BBC together with Microsoft and other partners will provide every Year 7 student (age 11-12) in the United Kingdom with their own micro:bit personal computing device they can use to explore the possibilities of computer science. Microsoft News Centre UK · 7 July 2015

Home Inkjet Printer Fabricates Circuit Boards on Photo PaperThe ink costs $500 a bottle, but only a few cents are needed to make a circuit. Computerworld · 28 April 2014

5 Ways Microsoft Will Enable Your PC to See, Sense, and UnderstandAt Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Techfair, researchers showed how they’re taking the PC in a new direction, combining machine vision with a new independence so they may recognize and interpret what the PC sees and present that information in a useful context. PCWorld · 22 April 2014

Print a Working Paper Computer on an $80 InkjetInk laced with silver nanoparticles could make it a reality, to the joy of hobbyists. New Scientist · 3 October 2013

Microsoft’s Gadgeteer Aims to Make Creating Gadgets as Simple as Building with LegoMicrosoft is hoping the ‘Put tab A into slot B’ simplicity of its Gadgeteer hardware platform will make it easier to build prototype gadgets. ZDNet · 2 October 2013

Putting Your Work ID Badge to WorkAn Interactive Belt-worn Badge with a Retractable String-based Input Mechanism, a note from Microsoft Research Cambridge accepted for CHI 2013, describes a computing prototype device designed to provide quick, easy access to useful information. Inside Microsoft Research · 1 May 2013

The Sensors and Devices Group is always looking for interns and post-doc researchers. See Careers to apply.


Media Coverage