Microsoft researchers help a race pilot go faster, Surface Pro 4 gets down to business and Windows 10 devices get a world-wide celebration – Weekend Reading, Oct. 23 edition

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From up in the air to eastern Africa, lots of cool Microsoft news happened this week. Dig in!

Microsoft researchers were busy in Las Vegas helping Red Bull Air Race pilot Kirby Chambliss fly the fastest, most efficient way possible.

Chambliss already races at a speed of more than 200 miles per hour, sometimes while upside down. But with control theory, robotics, machine learning and path planning, researchers are working to shave his time by a tenth to a hundredth of a second.

“You get two-tenths of a second here and two-tenths of a second there, and now you’re winning,” Chambliss said.

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In awesome device news, the Surface Pro 4 has been adopted by businesses faster than any previous Surface. Since the newest Surface devices were unveiled two weeks ago, there has been “unprecedented interest from our business customers in Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book,” wrote Cyril Belikoff, Microsoft Surface senior director.

“We are pleased and humbled to announce 10 new business customers and three leading educational institutions who have committed to buying Surface Pro 4, even before it is generally available,” Belikoff said.

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Microsoft also celebrated its partners and their Windows 10 devices, wrapping up a world tour that unveiled 50 new devices from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP Lenovo, LG and Toshiba.

“Since the debut of Windows 10, we’ve encouraged our hardware partners to put the operating system to work – and they are doing just that with their incredible new devices, which light up with Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Continuum, Xbox, and so much more,” wrote Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group.

Myerson traveled to Barcelona, Taipei and other cities, before ending the tour in San Francisco, where Lenovo unveiled two new YOGA series PCs.

In other news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave props to Microsoft, in the form of its “Green Power Partner of the Year” award. The EPA honored Microsoft — fully powered by renewable energy since 2014 — for its green power use, leadership, energy strategy and impact on the green power market.

The newly released Microsoft 2015 Citizenship Report also detailed the company’s commitment to making the world a better place. The report outlined the year’s top accomplishments, which include creating opportunities for millions of young people and becoming the second largest user of green power in the U.S.

Microsoft technologies are also making a difference in Africa. This week, Microsoft Translator launched support for its first African language, Kiswahili (also known as Swahili), which is spoken by up to 150 million people in eastern Africa. The region includes Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The translation service helps people and groups bridge borders, from governments wanting to share information to non-government groups wanting to communicate with locals.

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An updated “Trivial Pursuit Friends” was the App of the Week, sporting a new look and more ways to have fun. Up to four players can now join the party and new topics include “Zombie Apocalypse” and “Fashionista.” Download “Trivial Pursuit Friends” for free from the Windows Store.

And finally this week, the Microsoft social channels ventured inside Building 87, where scientist Stevie Bathiche and his team of researchers are engineering the connection between humans and their computers.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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