Portrait of Gavin Jancke

Gavin Jancke

General Manager - Engineering, Research Manager


As General Manager Engineering and a Research Manager for Microsoft Research, Gavin Jancke built over the last 15 years and currently runs the Central Engineering Group within the organization.

The 30+ person multi-disciplinary Advanced Development team develops software & hardware technologies and components based on Microsoft Research innovations, from technical transfer to the main Microsoft product groups, large scale prototyping and deployment, to internal lab engineering needs. Since the team was created over 450 engineering projects have been fulfilled. Technology transfers that have been integrated into product span from Windows, Office, XBox, Azure, Bing Platform. His team also provided engineering infrastructure for Skype Translator.

He also managed and led the engineering effort for the Kinect for Windows SDK Beta and accepted the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award in 2011.

He is still an active engineer, recently releasing Microsoft Plumbago a new pen based application reimagining digital note-taking featuring handwriting beautification technology.

Previously he developed a new color barcode format that has a high density storage capability. This evolved into a new Microsoft product & business called Microsoft Tag that he architected, led & managed the development and rollout of the product launching at the Consumer Electronic Show in 2009.

He has over 9 US patents awarded, half dozen applications still pending and has published papers in various academic conferences.


Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

Established: April 15, 2011

The Kinect for Windows SDK beta, created by Microsoft Research, was a programming toolkit for application developers. It enabled easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running the Windows 7 operating system. The Kinect for Windows SDK beta included drivers, rich APIs for raw sensor streams and natural user interfaces, installation documents, and resource materials. It provided Kinect capabilities to developers who build applications with C++, C#, or Visual…

Face Modeling

Established: May 5, 2001

Overview 3d Modeling. Generating realistic 3D human face models and facial animations has been a persistent challenge in computer vision and graphics. We have developed a system that constructs textured 3D face models from videos with minimal user interaction. Our system takes a video sequence of a face with an ordinary video camera. After five manual clicks on two images to tell the system where the eye corners, nose tip and mouth corners are, the…










February 2016

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Songsmith (Free Trial)

January 2009

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Conditional Maximum-Entropy Training Tool

July 2007

This tool enables training and testing of maximum-entropy models using a general-feature file format. The tool also supports RProp and GIS as training algorithms.

Size: 3 MB

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Recently he managed and led the engineering effort for the Kinect for Windows SDK Beta which was honored as one of the “10 Most Innovative Tech Products of 2011” at the 2011 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards.In his spare time he still engineers code and of late developed a new color barcode format that has a high density storage capability. This evolved into a new Microsoft product & business called Microsoft Tag which Jancke envisioned with a marketeer from the Consumer Marketing Group, secured VP funding, architected, led & managed the development and rollout of the product which launched at the Consumer Electronic Show 2009. Since the launch Microsoft Tag is rapidly gaining traction being used by major corporations & media companies and has surpassed 2 billion impressions. Over 20m Tags could be found in May 2010 issues of various major magazine publications, several Tags appear daily in every print issue of the USA Today national newspaper. The barcode format was exhibited in the New York Museum Of Modern Art Design and Elastic Mind exhibition in 2008 – see Microsoft Researchers at Intersection of Science and Art.

Prior to his latest position he worked in the Chairman’s Office as part of Bill Gates’ technical advisory staff working on a variety of research projects in the fields of Search and Telephony which have eventually become integrated into products such as MSN Desktop Search. Before this Jancke was a research engineer in Microsoft Research’s Collaboration and Multimedia team engineering a variety of projects from peripheral awareness interfaces which became the Windows Vista Sidebar, to collaboration software evolving into Microsoft Roundtable.Prior to Microsoft Research, Jancke was Development Lead in Microsoft’s SQL Server product for 8 years, spanning several versions of the product from V4.2 through V7.0. Here he lead the engineering for the graphical administration and query tools for the product line.Jancke first started Microsoft in the UK subsidary on a 1 year university industry placement program when he was 19 years of age working in Product Support Services supporting the Windows Software Development Kit and OS/2 Presentation Manager Development Kit. From then he worked off and on within Microsoft as an intern working in the SQL Server team which he subsequently joined in full time employment, and a contractor until finally moving out to the United States.

Personal Research Projects

  •  High Capacity Color Barcode
    • Press release: International Organization Licenses Microsoft’s New Multicolor Barcode Technology For Identifying Audiovisual Works
    • Seattle PI: Software Notebook: Color is key to Microsoft’s next generation barcode
    • CNET News: Microsoft gives bar codes a splash of color
    • IT Jungle: Microsoft Breaks the Color Barrier for Barcode
    • Dr Dobbs: Color Bar Codes: More Than Just a Pretty Face
  •  Biometric ID Card Technology
    • RSA Conference Bill Gates keynote
  • Enhanced Telephony
  • Stuff I’ve Seen
  • Sideshow: Peripheral awareness software
  • Telepresence, Tele-Meetings, and Connected Spaces
    • TELEP: Tele-Meetings
      • Presenting to Local and Remote Audiences: Design & Use of the TELEP System (CHI2000)
      • Silent Partners: Microsoft Research featured article on TELEP
    • Video Windows/Virtual Kitchen
      • Linking Social Spaces: Technical and Social Issues (CHI2001)
      • Fancy Meeting You Here: Microsoft Research feature article on Virtual Kitchen

European Patents

  • 05105314.8 – System and method for encoding high density geometric symbol


Patents Pending

  • Enhanced Telephony Computer User Interface Allowing User Interaction and Control of a Telephone using a Personal Computer
  • Method and System for Providing a Peripheral Service to a Host Computing Device
  • System and Methods for Personal Ubiquitous Information Retrieval and Reuse
  • A System and Process for Dynamic Communication Access and Information Awareness in an Interactive Peripheral Display

HCCB at Museum of Modern Art