News: Try Windows 10's Mixed Reality Portal on Your PC with Insider Build 15048 — No Headset Required

Try Windows 10's Mixed Reality Portal on Your PC with Insider Build 15048 — No Headset Required

Try Windows 10's Mixed Reality Portal on Your PC with Insider Build 15048 — No Headset Required

If you're part of the Windows 10 Insider Program, build 15048 launched this morning, and included a nice big unannounced surprise. You can now launch the Mixed Reality Portal and enable the simulation to try out mixed reality right from your PC, even if you don't have one of the new Acer dev kits.

  • Update 3/7/2017: We tried to get the portal to detect our Vive and Oculus HMDs, but unfortunately they're not supported yet. Looks like the experience is still targeted squarely at developers for now, which explains why Microsoft still hasn't mentioned that this feature is even included in their Insider Builds.

If you're not part of the Windows 10 Insider Program, it's free to join (though it'll take a day or so before you'll be able to install the latest Fast ring preview build from Windows Update).

Once you have Build 15048 or later installed, just search Cortana for "Mixed Reality Portal" to get started.

After agreeing to the terms, you'll get a report on how well your PC will (or will not) be able to run Windows Mixed Reality.

I'm on an i7 Surface Book with the original NVIDIA base, and even though earlier versions of the app (back when it was called Windows Holographic) said I was all set, this latest version seems to want a more powerful GPU than the custom 1 GB NVIDIA GeForce GPU my Surface Book came with in order to be able to run at full speed. Thankfully, that didn't block me from diving in.

If you have a dev kit headset, go ahead and click "Next" to set it up. If not, click the "Set up simulation (for developers)" link on the bottom left.

You'll find yourself in a beautiful virtual workspace that you can explore using video game-esque controls.

  • WASD let you walk forward and backwards, and strafe left and right.
  • The arrow keys (or the mouse while holding left-click) let you look around.
  • Right clicking simulates an air tap.
  • Hold shift to move faster.

You can also hook up a variety of controllers, though, I still have to do some tests to see what all is supported.

The Store is still only giving access to all the 2D Windows 10 apps you'll find when launching it on your desktop, so there's no way right now to install all the new mixed reality apps that HoloLens developers have been cooking up over the past year.

So that's a primer. Time to give it a shot for yourself! And I highly recommend using headphones, as the team at Microsoft has done some nice work on the spatial audio of this environment, really making you feel like you're overlooking a breezy, rolling valley, complete with pleasant wind chimes singing quietly in the distance.

Screenshots by Bryan Crow/NextReality

3 Comments

Would you do a youtube video on a hands on

We've got more details with videos going up soon. In the mean time, it looks like Sean Ong just recorded a quick video. Take a look:

Why is it so blurry tho? It looks like something straight from 1996.

Also they should call it "VR Headset for MS Mixed Reality Platform", because it has nothing to do with AR. It's pretty much cheap(er) VR.

Also not very practical from what I've seen so far. Good maybe for "relaxing" in a VR environment, watching 3D movies, some games (unless you get sick fast)...

The biggest problem I have with this right now is that it looks like it'll only support UWP apps. So you can say goodbye to having multiple virtual screens with your desktop programs (like Unity+Visual Studio+PS+web etc...) open around you.

And unless the customer version comes with a pass-through camera that turns it into hololens-wannabe - it's not gonna fly and we'll have to wait for Magic Leap (but I'm pretty sure they will screw up) .

The only good (GREAT) thing right now is the Hololens , but the price tag is just insane. IDK why almost everyone always feels like milking the dev community is the way to go.

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