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MWC 2022: The next Microsoft Pluton Device + PAC technology

2021 and into 2022 have seen continued innovation in the attack landscape as cybercriminals refine tactics and tools to evade defenses. 2021 saw the highest year on record for zero-day exploits, increased firmware attacks and new tampering attacks targeting security agents. Microsoft and our silicon partners have been vigilant in working to address these trends…

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2021 and into 2022 have seen continued innovation in the attack landscape as cybercriminals refine tactics and tools to evade defenses. 2021 saw the highest year on record for zero-day exploits, increased firmware attacks and new tampering attacks targeting security agents. Microsoft and our silicon partners have been vigilant in working to address these trends and we’re proud to share that Qualcomm and Microsoft have partnered on innovations designed to help keep the security capabilities in Windows 11 ahead of attackers. 

We’re excited today to announce that the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s, built with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, is the first ARM platform for Windows that is built on the Microsoft Pluton security architecture.  Pluton is at the center of the security capabilities for Windows 11 providing protection in the boot, identity, credential protection and encryption processes. Pluton also supports chip-to-cloud zero trust using the Azure Attestation Service with Intune. Beyond integrating Pluton, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is also a certified secured-core PC, which provides the best possible security capabilities for Windows 11 right out of the box. 

Pluton provides security from the chip to the cloud

Microsoft Pluton is a security processor architecture, pioneered in Xbox and Azure Sphere, that is designed to store sensitive data, like encryption keys, securely with hardware that is integrated into the die of a device’s CPU. This makes access more difficult for attackers, even if they have physical possession of a device. 


Windows 11 PCs built on top of Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform, with Qualcomm® Secure Processing Unit (SPU), will leverage advanced hardware capabilities from Microsoft Pluton and Pointer Authentication Codes (PAC). Pluton will leverage advanced hardware capabilities while built-in security countermeasures from PAC protect against common exploit patterns to help customers strengthen their device security posture. On Windows 11 PCs like the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s built with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform, Pluton will provide customers with: 

  • Security updates delivered from the cloud to Pluton  

Alongside support for standard industry controls, Microsoft will help keep the Pluton security processor’s firmware up to date through the Windows Update process. 

  • Physical attack resistance 

With Pluton being on the die of the device’s System on a Chip (SoC), attack vectors like bus interfaces that pass data between the SoC and other components on a motherboard are not exposed to physical attacks. 

  • Trusted, proven security built alongside our partners 

Built on approaches and technologies used in Xbox and Azure Sphere, Pluton is the result of years of collaboration between Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies and our other ecosystem partners. Alongside other lessons learned from Xbox that have been incorporated into secured-core PCs which help reduce malware instances by 60% and the Windows 11 hardware baselines, Pluton helps to protect sensitive data and add visibility to the boot process in tamper-resistant ways.  

ARM pointer authentication in the QC 8CX G3 helps customers stay ahead of zero-day exploits 

With zero-day exploits targeting memory safety issues reaching record numbers in 2021, Microsoft has continued investing in mitigations against sources of vulnerabilities, including partnering with silicon providers to launch new capabilities like hardware shadow stacks which help disrupt common zero-day exploit techniques. The hardware stack protection (HSP) feature in Windows 11 leverages hardware support to efficiently store return addresses in a shadow stack alongside the software call stack in all programs. This helps to address a common attack in zero-day exploits where the software stack is modified or hijacked to execute malicious code. With the HSP feature the software stack must match the return addresses store in hardware.  If there is a mismatch, a process is safely terminated by the operating system, preventing a successful attack. 

With Windows 11 on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, the ARM pointer authentication hardware capability provides similar robust mitigation against exploits that leverage return-oriented programming (ROP) or stack modification techniques on ARM-based Windows systems.  

Windows binaries are compiled with Pointer Authentication Code instructions, injecting a hash (the PAC) for return addresses at function prologue and verifying the hash immediately before function return to verify that the return address has not been tampered. Windows 11 utilizes the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 hardware schemes to generate and verify the PAC to provide resilience against attacks that overwrite the intended return address. This helps to break a common technique attackers use to try to execute malicious code. 

Windows 11 and the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 provide advanced capabilities like Microsoft Pluton, Secured-core firmware protection and ARM Pointer Authentication, which together provide the best level of protection for Windows PCs. With devices like the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s with Windows 11, customers are empowered to work and play from anywhere with greater peace of mind knowing that protection is built-in from the chip to the cloud to keep attackers at bay. 

Learn more about Microsoft Pluton and secured-core PCs.  

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Babylon.js 5.0: Key Engine Advancements – Part 3

Our mission is to create it one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. The latest Babylon.js 5.0 engine packs a ton of new improvements to help you create stunning experiences. Unlimited Morph Targets No matter what you call them, Blend Shapes, Shape Keys, or Morph Targets, Babylon.js 5.0 adds…

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Our mission is to create it one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. The latest Babylon.js 5.0 engine packs a ton of new improvements to help you create stunning experiences.

Unlimited Morph Targets

No matter what you call them, Blend Shapes, Shape Keys, or Morph Targets, Babylon.js 5.0 adds rocket fuel to your ability to use influenced vertex positions. This new feature now gives you literally unlimited amounts of Morph Targets. Want to have a complex animated face with thousands of Morph Targets to get that perfect expression? Now you can, all in the web, all for free!

See it in action here: Unlimited Morph Targets Demo

Learn more: Unlimited Morph Targets Documentation

YouTube Series: Tech Artist’s Journey YouTube Playlist

Order Independent Transparency

Rendering transparent objects is complicated! The Babylon.js Platform has always strived to make it as easy as possible to help you inform the system of rendering order, alpha index, run depth-prepasses, and much more, so your scene can look correct. With Babylon.js 5.0 we’ve wrapped a bow on it all. All of the complexity of rendering transparent objects can now disappear with one single, simple line of code:

Try it out: Order Independent Transparency Demo

Learn More: Order Independent Transparency Documentation

WebXR Advancements

WebXR is an incredible web standard allowing web developers to create amazing cross-browser XR experiences. Using WebXR to add a mobile AR component to your web site can be a simple and fun way to engage your readers/users even further. While the technology to render world-locked 3D objects has existed in Babylon.js for some time, Babylon.js 5.0 steps the beauty-factor up several notches with the introduction of Light Estimation. This powerful yet easy-to-use new feature allows your Babylon.js scenes to estimate the light in your real-world location and automatically match the lighting and shadows of your virtual world-locked object. This creates a cutting-edge level of immersion between the physical and digital worlds…and it’s all here in Babylon.js…all for free! Babylon.js 5.0 also adds support for WebXR image tracking and WebXR Layers!!!

Check it out on your Android Phone: Light Estimation Demo, Image Tracking Demo

Learn More: Light Estimation Documentation

glTF Updates

The Babylon.js Platform prioritizes support for the absolute latest and greatest advancements to the glTF file format. This means every new version of Babylon.js unlocks new beautiful advancements in rendering capabilities, and Babylon.js 5.0 turns up the heat! With full support for KHR_materials_volume, KHR_materials_transmission, and KHR_materials_ior, you can now render some absolutely STUNNING visuals!

Check it out: KHR_materials_volume Demo

Learn More: KHR_materials_volume, KHR_materials_transmission, KHR_materials_ior

Mixed Reality Toolkit for Babylon.js

Babylon.js 5.0 also adds updated support for the world’s most advanced 3D interface component library, Mixed Reality Toolkit. This advanced library makes it incredibly easy to add advanced XR UX elements into your Babylon.js scenes such as: holographic slates, 3D Sliders, Touch Holographic Buttons, Touch Mesh Buttons, and much much more!

Check it out: MRTK Demo

Learn More: MRTK Documentation

Material Plugin Manager

When it comes to creating real-time shaders power, performance, and flexibility are critical! Babylon.js 5.0 brings introduces a brand new feature that doubles down on all of three. The Material Plugin Manager gives you the ability to add custom code to any Babylon.js shader. This means that you can fully customize any advanced shader, such as PBR, to go even further. The Material Plugin Manager provides developers with the flexibility to fully customize the power, performance, and look of any shader!

Check it out: Material Plugin Manager Demo

Learn More: Material Plugin Manager Documentation

Much Much More

Wow that’s a lot, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Improved Shadow Performance, Vertex Animation Textures, a brand-new Build System, there’s more to Babylon.js 5.0 than you can imagine! Want a full view of everything that’s new? For a full list of features, enhancements, and fixes you can head on over here.

Babylon.js 5.0 launches the Babylon.js platform to incredible new heights and we cannot wait to see you reach for the stars with it!

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In their mission to diversify STEM education, twin brothers use Windows 11

Twins Miles and Malik George are almost always in sync. They graduated at the top of their high school class as co-valedictorians. At MIT, these bioengineering students embraced and expanded upon their love of science. They were also in multiple diverse groups on campus such as Nu Delta Fraternity, The Standard, and Laureates and Leaders.…

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Twins Miles and Malik George are almost always in sync.

They graduated at the top of their high school class as co-valedictorians.

At MIT, these bioengineering students embraced and expanded upon their love of science. They were also in multiple diverse groups on campus such as Nu Delta Fraternity, The Standard, and Laureates and Leaders.

This last program is dedicated to helping under-represented students get Ph.D.s or M.D./Ph.D.s and has a selective entry process. The two fondly remembered the program as instrumental in shaping their academic careers.

They worked with MIT Admissions as Admissions Ambassadors to increase the number of underrepresented students that apply to and attend the university. On campus and virtually, they worked in several biological engineering labs. They’re about to graduate and will be pursuing Ph.D.s in Biological Engineering at MIT.


They’re both passionate about bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to under-served communities through hundreds of funny and informative lessons posted to TikTok and other social media. Their mix of memes, dances and trivia reach all kinds of audiences. They teach what they find exciting about science.

“The more curious you are about one subject, the more you learn about that subject, the more curious you become about everything else,” Miles says. “Curiosity is the reason why people keep innovating. And so as long as people are curious, people will keep learning.”

“Curiosity leads to solutions, you know?” Malik adds.

The brothers will host a private virtual education event for students May 17 in partnership with Microsoft Stores. This session will reach 10,000 students and will feature an inspirational fireside chat, STEM demonstration and interactive Q&A.

The twins strive to be role models for the next generation, to inspire them to follow their dreams.

“In high school we did a lot of science fairs. Being able to count on your hand how many people look like you in a room of over a hundred people, it’s pretty sad,” Malik says. “As we became involved in science ourselves, we wanted to make sure that people saw there are people that look like us in the field and that they can and should feel welcome to do so as well.”

They’re both PC gamers who enjoy comic book universes and socializing with their many friends.

They are part of a tight-knit family, helping their parents with gardening and jigsaw puzzles, watching movies together and doting on the senior Shih-tzu (who is the fifth member of their household).

But they are also individuals.

Malik is the “explainer.” As his brother shares, “He’s going make sure that if he’s telling you about something, you know everything that there is about the topic and he’s going make sure you understand it at the end of the day.”

“If I’m the explainer, then Miles is the convincer,” says Malik. “You know, he can summarize any topic – no matter how advanced – in a couple sentences to any age group and they’ll understand it.”

This works well when they’re doing presentations, which have reached more than 1,000 students remotely (ranging in age from late elementary school to high school seniors) since January 2021. They’ve been getting more interest about K-12 presentations and plan to continue those.

“I’ll do the intro. He does methods and results. I do the conclusion. He gives you the scientific know-how, how to learn. Then I bring it back at the end,” Miles says.

They also have different work styles – though both are also lifetime PC users. For as long as they can remember, they’ve always been on Windows, starting from their childhood.

“If you were to look at my desktop, you will see at least three applications open at once. If you look at Miles’ desktop, you’ll see one application open, but he’ll have three desktops that he’ll switch between,” Malik says.

Multiple desktops are one of Miles’ favorite Windows 11 features.

“I have one program that I’m focused on. When I’m done focusing on it, I’ll switch to another desktop and that’s what I’m working on then,” he says. “Each assignment gets its own desktop, and I will get to it when I get to it.”

They’ve discovered other Windows 11 features that make them even more efficient.

“As a student, I am constantly searching through emails, especially through keyword search,” Malik says. “I globally search by who sent it or a keyword and it will just show up right there. And I can read it or I can click it and reply from the same place. Windows 11 really takes away flipping back and forth between things. And then anything that you don’t have open, you can also just go through the Start menu.”

They also make great use of Snap Assist.

“I can have an essay snap to the right on Word. I can have some internet research article on the left,” Malik says. “And then if I need to check my email, it would just pop up in the center and I don’t have to cover what I was already working on.”

They like that they can tailor Windows 11 to what works best for each of them.

“It really feels like a personalized experience when I’m online. And it really visually is a much better experience than what I’m used to,” Miles says. “As a researcher, I’m used to a lot of diagrams, a lot of graphs. It really combines multitasking with this beautiful element of note taking and annotating directly on the screen.”

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Babylon.js 5.0: News Tools – Part 2

We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools. Animation Curve Editor Creating and…

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We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools.

Animation Curve Editor

Creating and modifying animation data in a rendering engine can be complicated and verbose, but not anymore! Babylon.js 5.0 adds a built-in Animation Curve Editor (ACE), making it incredibly easy to create and modify animation data directly in your Babylon scene. As with all Babylon.js Platform tools, you can also save your animation data to the Babylon.js Snippet Server and load it back into your Babylon.js scene with one single line of code!

See it in action here: Play with the Animation Curve Editor

Learn more: Animation Curve Editor Documentation

Performance Profiler

Performance is one of the most important things to keep in mind as you create advanced interactive 3D experiences. After all, you don’t want to create an awesome experience that only runs on the most high-end graphics cards, right? You want to create something that EVERYONE can enjoy, and this means keeping track of and optimizing the performance of your scene. Babylon.js 5.0 makes performance debugging and management a breeze with the introduction of the new Performance Profiler. This handy tool allows you to see a real time graph of key performance indicators of your scene, all hooked up live! Make a change, see the impact on perf. It’s really that simple!

See it in action here: Performance Profiler Demo

Learn more: Performance Profiler Documentation

GUI Editor Beta

Babylon.js has a powerful GUI system that offers countless widgets, controls, and properties to help you create rich GUIs. With Babylon.js 5.0 that powerful system becomes far simpler to use with the introduction of the GUI Editor Beta. While still in active development, the GUI Editor Beta is a rich and modern tool, allowing you to create the perfect GUI with a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Say goodbye to thousands of lines of GUI code and hello to a world of design with the GUI Editor Beta and loading your creations with a single line of code!

See it in action here: GUI Editor Beta Demo

Try it out for yourself: GUI Editor

Learn more: GUI Editor Beta Documentation

New Node Material Nodes

The Node Material Editor is one of the most advanced tools available in the Babylon Platform. One simple UI that helps you generate stunning GLSL shaders with ease. With Babylon.js 5.0 the Node Material gets even better with the introduction of several powerful new nodes!

Check out the new nodes:

Learn More: Node Material Documentation

Asset Librarian

The Babylon.js Platform offers a large library of free Creative Commons 0 assets available for you to use in your Babylon.js scenes, completely for free. With Babylon.js 5.0, accessing these assets is easier and faster than ever! The new Asset Librarian brings a new Assets namespace that you can use in your projects to easily access the 200+ free assets to make your Babylon.js scenes soar.

Try it out: Asset Librarian Demo

Learn More: Asset Librarian Documentation

Dev Stories Documentation

Babylon.js 5.0 adds a whole new category of documentation called “Dev Stories.” These new tutorials are designed to walk you, step-by-step, through some common scenarios that many Babylon.js developers ask about. From setting up a Babylon.js project quickly, adding interactive 3D elements to your e-commerce site, to deploying your Babylon.js project to a Native Application, “Dev Stories” are rich, deep, detailed tutorials aimed at helping you take your project from idea to reality!

Check It Out: Dev Stories!

“Going The Distance With Babylon.js” A New Book               

We are also incredibly excited to share that alongside Babylon.js 5.0, community member and talented author Josh Elster has written an entirely new book about Babylon.js 5.0. Published by Packt Publishing, “Going The Distance With Babylon.js” is written from the mindset of taking you through the entire development process of building a game with Babylon.js from the ground up. We are thrilled to partner with Josh and Packt on this book and think it’ll be a great addition to your library and accelerate your Babylon.js learning journey.

Pick Up Your Copy Here: Babylon.js 5.0: The Book

Beside the tooling, there are also a ton of new features in the engine itself. Check out part three to learn more about the exciting new improvements with Babylon.js 5.0.

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