The Microsoft HoloLens team rounded out this year’s Build Conference. During their presentation, they demoed a new and promising extension to the HoloLens platform. A little over 100 days ago the public was introduced to the concept of augmented reality through HoloLens. In less than four months, the HoloLens is ready to introduce yet another advancement. Today, on stage, the HoloLens team showcased Windows Holographic, a new holographic platform designed to help extend the functionality of HoloLens.
More specifically, Alex Kipman the general manager of incubation for Microsoft’s Entertainment Business, spoke about how Windows Holographic development would interact with Windows 10. While Windows Holographic relies on the HoloLens hardware to interact with, the apps and holograms presented are of Universal Apps nature. Developers who undergo development of Universal Apps can now have their app splashed onto a wall, fridge, vase, or other surfaces. HoloLens now extends beyond augmented reality.
According to Kipman, any Windows 10 app has the potential to become a hologram or holographic experience thanks to HoloLens and the Windows Holographic platform. As part of the demonstration, a HoloLens developer came on stage and demoed several instances where holographic interactions followed him throughout his movement — complete with a holographic dog! The impressive part was the holograms maintained their visual clarity, detail, and frame rates in a very natural way, even when expanded to different sizes. The resolution appeared to be extremely sharp on the live demo.
Other demos included a Windows 10-like start screen experience fully equipped with apps like Skype, video and photos apps and a browser that can all be manipulated in a holographic experience. Users of HoloLens will eventually be able to place their preferred apps in the spatial areas they most enjoy, and HoloLens will maintain those positions or adapt them depending on the environment or movement.
Kipman also demonstrated how much more useful this technology could become in the hands of industry. From teachers to construction workers, HoloLens along with Windows Holographic, can help empower a user to create new paradigms of productivity not currently being utilized. For instance, an architect at a construction site can bring up plans and adjust them in real time and based on actual specs while also on a video enabled conference call. Teachers can use the new hardware and platform to bring information to life with 3D interactions.
As Microsoft and the HoloLens team continue to score partnerships with leading brands in technology and entertainment like Unity, Disney, Autodesk, and Legendary Pictures, Windows Holographic is proving to be the next platform for technology. If Microsoft can properly pivot HoloLens, we may be looking another amazing development platform for future developers.