Microsoft’s research spending on display

REDMOND, Washington – When Microsoft Corp. researchers think about the consumer technologies of the future, some of the physical touchstones of today, like sticky notes and souvenirs, take on digital form.

Researchers from all over the world converged on Microsoft’s main campus Tuesday to show off their latest projects in a hall set up like a school science fair. All the programs and gadgets on display were works in progress, and only some will make it into real-world technology.

But even as the software maker tightens its belt to survive the economic downturn, it has pledged to continue spending money on research that doesn’t neatly translate into profits.

Researchers from Cambridge, England, traveled to the annual meeting, dubbed TechFest, with a series of prototypes meant for the home. One, called Family Archive, is the digital equivalent of stuffing memorabilia and photographs haphazardly into a box and tossing it in the basement.

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