Augmented and mixed reality started as a lofty promise that's just now taking form, but with several companies taking somewhat different approaches, it's hard to understand what's what. Let's take a look at the three big players and what they're doing: HoloLens, Meta, and Magic Leap.
The limitless applications of 3D data visualization will enable a more efficient approach to many of life's problems. Each day, developers exploring this technology are finding new ways to solve these problems in mixed reality; 3D modeling, easier house management, spinal surgery, and forest fire management are just a few recent examples of ways 3D data visualization can benefit us all.
Well, we have some potentially good news for those wanting to experience Magic Leap. The ultra-secretive company seems to be planning a big year in 2017.
Once mixed reality technology is more widely available and realistically priced for consumers, using the tech to create the illusion of a larger space, will likely be a favorite use for mixed reality in places where real-estate is expensive, people tend to live in smaller homes and work in tighter offices.
Magic Leap, the mysterious Florida-based mixed reality start-up, announced on Wednesday that it would be opening a 260,000 square-foot expansion in Florida, and bringing along with it 725 new jobs over a five-year period. To make this happen, they will be making an $150 million capital investment, with government incentives, of course.
Autodesk offers some of the most popular software for computer-aided design (CAD) projects, which involve all sorts of 3D rendering. Their tools are clearly suited for use with the Microsoft HoloLens, but so far very little supports HoloLens development outside of Unity. Why is that?
The Meta 2 developer kit has finally begun shipping! Gary Garcia, the senior director of customer success at Meta, just sent out an email that they are shipping out to the first round of preorder customers. Waves will be building from there, up to far higher manufacturing rates near the end of Q1 of 2017.
As we slowly approach its January 3 start date, CES 2017 seems to be shaping up to be an exciting year for smart glasses as well as augmented and mixed reality.
DigiLens, a company specializing in optical waveguide technology, recently announced that they had closed a $22 million round of strategic investment, also known as Series B funding. This round brought in Sony, Foxconn, Continental, and Panasonic, as well as more traditional venture investors such as Alsop Louie Partners, Bold Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, and Dolby Family Ventures.
Students from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center have been working on an augmented reality system to help teach music in a project called Music Everywhere.
The HoloLens is a natural medium for 3D data visualization, which offers a far more ideal approach over 2D screens to managing multiple resources simultaneously and grasping the bigger picture. We've already seen how management is using holograms to oversee cities, firefighters, and the military, and now training for sports teams is being addressed with VAR Football.
It seems to me you can't swing a dead cat near an augmented reality developer without hearing the word Vuforia escape their lips. PTC's software solution has become the go-to for most developers in the mobile AR space, and since they recently added full support for the HoloLens in Unity, I figured it was about time we learn to make something with it.
In this first part of our tutorial series on making physical objects come to life on HoloLens, we are going to set up Vuforia in Unity.
Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive tether to desktop computers with robust GPUs in order to harness their power. The free-roaming, cordless Microsoft HoloLens forgoes those chains but loses a bit of graphical processing power in the mix. However, a recent report suggests we may get the best of both worlds.
Microsoft's HoloLens comes with helpful features for capturing video and photos, but sharing whatever you record isn't as straightforward as you might expect. So here are the many ways to get your media off the device to share with the world.
We've experienced the HoloLens, learned a lot about the Meta 2, but almost nobody knows exactly what to expect out of Magic Leap's mixed reality headset. Thanks to a patent dug up by Quartz (which we saw first on Tech Insider), we now might have a better idea.
A new contender has entered the mixed reality ring. San Fransisco-based Occipital has just released an "Explorer Edition" of Bridge—an iPhone-based mixed and virtual reality headset that uses their popular Structure Sensor. At a fraction of the cost of a HoloLens developers kit, this could be a place many curious people use to find their NextReality.
For those of us that were blown away by the spatial mapping and user experience in Fragments and Young Conker, the version of spatial mapping that came stock in the HoloToolkit was lackluster at best. It became apparent really quick that to get an amazing presentation would require some heavy shader knowledge and some badass mesh culling skills, at the very least.
News: Trimble Releases SketchUp Viewer, the First Commercial HoloLens Application in the Windows Store
Visualization is one of the obvious commercial applications for technology such as Microsoft's HoloLens. The ability to see the assets of a project in different scales—from micro to larger-than-life—with a quick air tap will play a large part in the coming augmented reality revolution. Whether the assets are art for a game, interior design, raw financial data, or architecture, data visualization will play an important role in the future. This is due, in part, to our ability to absorb informat...
One of the first things you'll do with the HoloLens is place little holograms around your room, and it'll look like you have a large figurine collection. Ralph Barbagallo, Edward Dawson-Taylor, and their HoloHacks team decided to take that a bit further and created an app that allows the user to produce and tour virtual art exhibits.
Meta's long-awaited Meta 2 development kit finally began shipping in late-December last year, after having been delayed about six months. While very few have received a dev kit at this point, some more information about the headset has just been announced; Depth-sensing technology from pmdtechnologies is included in the dev kit headset.
While all of my previous Have You Seen This? posts have all focused on individual HoloLens apps in the Windows Store, this time I'll be sharing a couple at once. These holographic applications are really simple in scope, so there is not a lot to say about them, yet they are interesting enough for me to want to share them with you.
3D modeling is usually a very long and complicated process. Manipulating the thousands to millions of vertices, faces, and triangles to the correct shape you want is just the first part of the process, and can take a good while depending on the level of detail needed. From there, you need to texture the model by applying the UV coordinates and placing the textures in the correct places. And all of this isn't even including the process of creating normal maps.
Many new developers are diving right into the Microsoft HoloLens, but augmented and mixed reality are fairly big subjects in terms of learning. There's a lot to cover and, unfortunately, very few places for someone brand new to Windows Holographic to begin lessons.
Now that we've got all of our software installed, we're going to proceed with the next step in our HoloLens Dev 101 series—starting a fresh project and building it into a Holographic application. Then we will output the application to the HoloLens Emulator so we can see it in action.
In this first part to my series on getting started with Windows Holographic, we are going to cover everything you need to get set up for developing HoloLens apps. There are many pieces coming together to make one single application, but once you get used to them all, you won't even notice. Now there are different approaches you can take to make applications for HoloLens, but this way is simply the fastest.
Don't let the lack of owning a HoloLens stop you from joining in on the fun of creating software in this exciting new space. The HoloLens Emulator offers a solution for everyone that wants to explore Windows Holographic development.
Thanks to Project-Infrared, there's now a pretty straightforward way to add motion tracking to the HoloLens: Connect it to a Kinect.
Every day the young world of mixed reality is creating new ways for people to work with with computers. We are looking for, and finding, new ways for these head-worn computers to understand what we tell them. Sometimes it is with our hands, sometimes it is where we turn our head, sometimes it is what we say. In the case highlighted below, it's where we walk.
We've been hearing some interesting rumors in the last few days that are stirring up all kinds of speculation about the potential upcoming consumer release of the HoloLens. However, MSPoweruser has speculated a bit further past the consumer HoloLens release to a possible HoloLens 2 as soon as Q3 2017.
News: Five Windows Holographic Mixed Reality Headsets Have Now Been Seen, but Most Have Not Been Touched
Some of the products I have been looking forward to seeing the most during CES 2017 has been the upcoming Windows Holographic virtual reality headsets. These are VR headset that will run a version of the Windows Holographic platform, which will allow users to have a similar experience as the HoloLens with a mixed reality environment. Of the six headsets that could have possibly made it to CES, five had shown up. Unfortunately, most of them are behind glass.
With any continuously active software, it can start to become fairly complex after a few years of updates. New features and revisions both get layered into a thick mesh of menu systems and controls that even pro users can get bewildered by. If you are new to a certain application after it has been around for many years, it can be downright intimidating to know where to begin.
Have You Seen This?: HoloChess Is a Great Example of How to Make a HoloLens App Without the Hardware
I am often asked about getting started with HoloLens development and most of the time my answer, in short, is: Install Unity, install Visual Studio, install the HoloLens emulator, and make something.
In recent weeks, Unity has made a few great leaps forward for HoloLens development. These new features will increase iteration speed inside Unity and quickly increase the output of applications in the mixed reality space. Of these new features, let's take some time to talk about Holographic Emulation and why this will do so much for the development community.
Windows Insiders running Build 14971 of Windows 10 in the Fast Ring can now look for the "Windows Holographic First Run" app to check to see if their PCs are up to the task of running Windows Holographic. It won't detect your VR headset yet, but at least you'll be able to see if your computer will be compatible.
The HoloToolkit offers a great many, simple ways to add what seems like extremely complex features of the HoloLens, but it can be a bit tricky if you're new to Windows Holographic. So this will be the first in an ongoing series designed to help new developers understand what exactly we can do with the HoloLens, and we'll start with voice commands.
The Microsoft HoloLens has a good amount of content available, but it's fairly limited in terms of what you can customize. You can access a built-in library of holograms, but if you want to create your own you have to do that with code.
These days, if you walk through Best Buy, you will see an entire area designated to smart home technology. Thanks to the interest and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), this exciting new technology has finally entered the mainstream. Appliances, thermostats, and even the lighting throughout your house can be controlled from your computer or smartphone. You could also use artificial intelligence; Simply tell Amazon's Alexa what you want your house to do, and she will do it.
In mid-November, Vuforia officially released Vuforia 6.1, which has full support for the Microsoft HoloLens. They also released their AR Starter Kit to the Unity Asset Store, which contains scenes that show you how to use Vuforia features. While I have yet to find any confirmation, I believe it is safe to assume that the AR Starter Kit will work with the HoloLens. I already had a Vuforia tutorial planned for this week, so as soon as I know for sure, I will begin working on it.
You've likely seen light-up musical keyboards that teach you how to play a song with visual cues, but few of those devices exist and have a limited number of songs you can actually learn. But Karl Baumann and his HoloLens Hackathon team figured out that in mixed reality, you can learn music with visual cues with any piano.