Yes, there was more to Microsoft’s all-employees’ confab on Thursday than CEO Steve Ballmer’s teary farewell. An on-stage demo by a deaf Chinese woman showed how Microsoft technology — including natural language speech recognition, Bing, and the Kinect camera — when put together can translate sign language into Chinese and then to English.
This is just the sort of research-heavy demo geared to motivate the troops who typically toil away on more mundane projects like, new features for Windows and Office. And apparently it had the intended affect — It blew the audience away, said one attendee.
The event was not public and no video was made available, but here is an earlier version of the demo from July. Enjoy.