Microsoft opens research laboratory in Zurich

Global IT giant Microsoft has opened a new laboratory in Zurich, where it will collaborate with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in the areas of mixed reality and artificial intelligence.

Marc Pollefeys
ETH Professor Marc Pollefeys, the director of the new Mixed Reality & AI Lab. Image Credit: ETH Zurich / Giulia Marthaler


Microsoft has opened the Mixed Reality and AI Zurich Lab, where it will collaborate closely with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. According to ETH Zurich, the lab is already home to twelve Microsoft employees, four ETH Zurich doctoral students and one doctoral student from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). ETH professor Marc Pollefeys is the director.

The new lab in Zurich is dedicated to researching mixed reality technologies and artificial intelligence. According to Pollefeys, mixed reality is about combining the physical world with virtual objects: “The service technician’s mixed reality glasses can guide them to a defective fire alarm, and at the same time give them certainty that they are repairing the right one.”

Mixed reality and artificial intelligence can also be used together in certain applications. For example, artificial intelligence methods can help mixed reality glasses better understand what a user is doing, turning the glasses into a type of assistant that helps users do their job.

According to Pollefeys, ETH Zurich and Microsoft have been collaborating for 11 years now, and the new lab will now intensify that partnership.

“ETH doctoral students can use it to work on real problems from industry, and it will give them prized access to state-of-the-art hardware. For its part, Microsoft benefits from ETH’s long-term and wide-ranging research, as conducted by our extremely well-qualified doctoral students,” he said.

ETH Zurich enjoys a similar collaboration with Disney. The two have been working together to develop new technologies for film products at the Disney Research lab in Zurich for several years. “Indeed, that’s what inspired us to take this approach,” added Pollefeys.

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