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Microsoft Unveil Whiteboard that 'self-sketches' users' diagrams

Microsoft's research division has unveiled a predictive whiteboard aimed at making it easier to tell stories through drawings and data. Sketch Insight takes simple line drawings and interprets them to create charts, maps and other visual representations from a particular data set. "SketchInsight is a data enabled canvas that allows you to create interactive data charts through simple interactive sketches," said Bongshin Lee, who works as part of Microsoft's computational user experiences group. A demonstration of the technology in the video above shows how the device uses simple cues drawn by the presenter to pick out relevant information easily. Drawing an "L" shape tells SketchInsight to create a graph, while beginning to write labels against each axis allows the whiteboard to suggest which data sets might be of interest. Interacting with the graphs and charts then allows the user to highlight or focus in on particular slices of information.
Essentially, it's a combination of predictive drawing and autocomplete which would allow you to navigate big data pools easily. It also appears to offer a degree of flexibility impossible if using Microsoft's existing business meeting staple: PowerPoint. The success of such a system would be tied to how easy it is to define the data sets in advance of the presentation, and how well integrated the product could be with all the millions of different methods by which companies and individuals record information.


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