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Microsoft will soon let you see the real world when wearing a Windows Mixed Reality headset

If you own a Windows Mixed Reality headset, you’ve likely taken it off your head (or just tilted the headset up) whenever you’ve wanted to check back in with the real world. Well, Microsoft announced yesterday the addition of a Windows Mixed Reality “Flashlight” which will soon let you check in and see the real world while still wearing the headset.

The feature is currently in testing with Windows Insiders and can be found in both build 17723 & build 18204 via the press of the Start button in Windows Mixed Reality. It essentially allows you to open a low-latency pass-through camera feed (portal) into your real world at any time and from any Windows Mixed Reality experience.

The “Flashlight” follows your controller and mixes both your physical and virtual realities. While this is certainly not as good as having a fully translucent lens like the one on Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality headset, this looks to be a pretty handy feature and it will be interesting to see how developers can leverage it in games and apps.

Microsoft is clearly working on improving Windows Mixed Reality, as the company previously introduced new features for the experience with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Windows Mixed Reality headsets may not be as mainstream as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headsets just yet, but this new “Flashlight” feature is clearly a step in the right direction for the platform.

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Do you think this feature can make VR a less isolating experience?