Sky Zhou, also know as Matrix Inception on YouTube, is no stranger here on NextReality. We loved his Pokémon concept game for HoloLens, as well as his D3D Keyboard that lets HoloLens users leave notes around the house. He just can't seem to stop creating cool mixed reality apps, and he's already got another one in the works.
HoloLens developer Michael Peters of In-Vizible has released quite a few videos since receiving his HoloLens last year. Many of his experiments are odd and funny, but some include serious potential approaches to data visualization. In the videos embedded below, you'll specifically see stock market information beautifully rendered in different ways to help understand the data.
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.
Mimesys, whose core focus has always been about creating holographic representations of humans for virtual and augmented reality, has released a video showing off their holographic communication platform in action. This new communication tool uses a combination of virtual reality, with the HTC Vive and a Kinect, and mixed reality, with the HoloLens, to allow the users to have virtual meetings from anywhere in the world as though they are in the same room.
An interesting new use-case for the Microsoft HoloLens appeared in a YouTube video from Washington-based DataMesh last month. In it, you can see the HoloLens working in conjunction with the Microsoft Surface Studio, Surface Dial, and Surface Pen for 3D model detailing and visualization in real time.
If anyone has every told you that they see music they listen to, they have synesthesia. It's a fascinating neurological phenomenon where people experience crossed responses to stimuli, and no one knows exactly how common this is. A rough estimate claims that one in every 5,000 to 100,000 people is a synesthete, but it could be far more common or rare. Nobody really knows.
A few days ago, there were flying piranha, snakes, and dragons roaming around freely at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, but they weren't real or even hallucinations—they were holograms brought to life with the Microsoft HoloLens.
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.
Late last year, two surgeons from the Instituto de Ortopedia e Traumatologia de Jaraguá do Sul in Brazil started using a combination of 3D printing and the Microsoft HoloLens to help plan spinal surgeries. And now, with the rest of their team, they've successfully performed a surgical procedure on their first international patient using their 3D impression planning and augmented reality process.
When I first started with HoloLens development last April, one of the first things I created was a window. The purpose of that window was to be attached to a wall and give the illusion of being in a different space—an effect that is often referred to as a "magic window" effect by developers. My goal was to create the feeling of being in the penthouse of a skyscraper, and it's one that I hope to get back to working on soon.
We live in a marvelous age, a time where technology is driving us forward as a species at a rapid pace, and tech-driven miracles are becoming more and more commonplace. While the human race may not be focused on building the largest wonders of the world, as it once was in history, the current order of wonders are much smaller in scale—even internal.
Crayon, a free 3D drawing application by the mysteriously named arkalian, showed up in the Windows Store recently, so I gave it a try like I do all new apps for Windows Holographic. Truthfully, I loaded it up not expecting much, but wow, was I wrong. It's a simple idea, but it's executed well enough to make it a truly great experience on the HoloLens.
"Necessity, not novelty," is a phrase I use often when it comes to HoloLens development. It would be fair to call it my mantra, or mission statement, as I prototype and explore software creation on this new frontier of mixed reality.
True innovation tends to come from the places we least expect as developers. The Microsoft HoloLens is still a very new product, and some of the other headsets are still just ideas, so the rules for mixed reality are not set in stone. That means all the real problems to be solved are yet to come.
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.
After what appeared to be an issue with the Windows Store for HoloLens not showing many newer applications, including one that I had released over a month ago, Microsoft finally squashed the bug. So, at first glance, it would seem as if there were lots of new HoloLens projects that just appeared in the store, even though they've likely been hiding out there for a while. HoloTerrain is one of those apps.
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.
Mixed reality filmmaking isn't a new concept. Disney managed to make it work in 1988 with Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but not without an enormous amount of work. We haven't seen many mixed reality films of that scope since, and perhaps that's because it's still hard to accomplish. Filmmakers don't look through a viewfinder or monitor and see the fully rendered result on screen—but that can change with mixed reality headsets like the HoloLens.
Thanks to Project-Infrared, there's now a pretty straightforward way to add motion tracking to the HoloLens: Connect it to a Kinect.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Microsoft's HoloLens is certainly a leap into the future of mixed reality interfaces, but it's not without drawbacks.
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.
What does our future hold when augmented and mixed reality finally enter the mainstream? As developers, we are always looking for the ultimate solutions to the problems our users see. Welcome the innovative minds of DataMesh Consulting and their impressive HoloLens interior design solution called HoloDesign (previously "Decoration").
Jurassic Park makes a great (and sometimes mediocre) action movie, but hopefully isn't the sort of thing we're dumb enough to actually make. Fortunately, on the HoloLens, you can now walk with the dinosaurs with no risk to your life and limbs.
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.
Gesture Input works hand-in-hand with Gaze Input. If you think of Gaze Input like a mouse cursor, Gesture Input is how you "click" in HoloLens—which Microsoft calls "tapping." It's kind of like a touchpad, only in 3D.
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.
When figuring out how to arrange your furniture in a new room, you traditionally have to measure everything and use your imagination. HoloPlanner has a better idea: just place holographic furniture in the room so the Microsoft HoloLens can imagine it for you.
In the world of analog synthesizers, hitting a key, twisting a knob, or sliding a fader makes a beautiful musical (or not so musical) sound and can be an amazing and downright satisfying experience. Now it's about to get even more satisfying, if you add Microsoft's HoloLens into the mix as a means to twist those knobs virtually instead.
Mixed reality (MR) feels like an amazing, almost mind-blowing futuristic technology—but only once you've experienced it for yourself. Words, images, and even videos simply cannot describe the experience in full. If you want to really peer into the future and experience MR for yourself, you can sign up and just go in many cities.
Microsoft released a robust version of the HoloLens when shipping the developer kits, but there's still lots of room left to grow. Today, they've released the first update to Windows Holographic, the operating system of the HoloLens, with a whole bunch of cool new features like voice commands and app multitasking.
HoloLens users will have a handful of ways to interact with the mixed-reality, holographic world. Gaze Input lets the user control a cursor in their field of vision. In other words, it's essentially a mouse that you control by looking around.
You've likely seen some impressive art carved out of a bush or tree before that looked like it required a lot of work and skill to create. While that may have been the case in the past, software engineer Javier Davalos used the Microsoft HoloLens to turn a bush into a perfect topiarian sphere with no training whatsoever.
Creating a dress, or any other clothes for that matter, takes quite a bit of design, planning, and manufacturing to get it just right. Fashion designer Jim Reichert put on a HoloLens and saved himself a bunch of time designing a dress through the use of a life-sized holographic woman.
The Microsoft HoloLens mixes the digital world with the physical one, allowing you to coexist with holograms of your choosing. But those worlds won't fully blend until we can experience it all together and create for each other. Vuforia could make that possible in the near future.
Data visualization has many applications in virtual and mixed reality, since a third dimension literally adds important depth to the represented information. A new app called HoloFlight is a good example of this, combining flight-tracking data and the Microsoft HoloLens to surround you with a look at every plane in the sky.