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.
Welcome back to this series on making physical objects come to life on HoloLens with Vuforia. Now that we've set up Vuforia and readied our ImageTarget and camera system, we can see our work come to life. Because in the end, is that not one of the main driving forces when developing—that Frankenstein-like sensation of bringing something to life that was not there before?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that we've set up Vuforia in Unity, we can work on the more exciting aspects of making physical objects come to life on the HoloLens. In this guide, we will choose an image (something that you physically have in your home), build our ImageTarget database, and then set up our Unity camera to be able to recognize the chosen image so that it can overlay the 3D holographic effect on top of it.
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.
German tech store Saturn is experimenting with an AR alien called Paula to push their products ... That's a sentence I never thought I'd write.
News: Unity & Microsoft Are Giving Away $150,000 for HoloLens Apps & Loaning Out HoloLens Developers Kits
At the Microsoft Build 2017 conference in Seattle this past week, 3D application and game platform Unity, partnering with Microsoft, launched a contest that drives HoloLens developers to realize their ideas into a full-fledged application and possibly win money for it.
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.
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.
One of the truly beautiful things about the HoloLens is its completely untethered, the-world-is-your-oyster freedom. This, paired with the ability to view your real surroundings while wearing the device, allows for some incredibly interesting uses. One particular use is triggering events when a user enters a specific location in a physical space. Think of it as a futuristic automatic door.
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.
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.
Thanks to Project-Infrared, there's now a pretty straightforward way to add motion tracking to the HoloLens: Connect it to a Kinect.
If the rumors are right, Microsoft has decided to cancel the second version of the HoloLens, and they will instead move onto version three of their mixed reality headset. In the latest report, Thurrott's Brad Sams states that the expected release date of this new Windows Holographic device wouldn't be until 2019, a long two years away for those of us putting full effort into HoloLens app development.
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.
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.
Microsoft's HoloLens project is shaping up to be the forerunner of augmented reality. With jaw-dropping features that would allow you to bring entire football games into your living room and control software with your eyes, there's plenty to be excited about with the upcoming AR headset. Up until now, HoloLens has been seen as potential vaporware, considering that the technology it brings to the table is so futuristic that some folks have thought it wouldn't be possible any time soon. But a r...
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.
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.
Complex games in mixed reality require a pretty detailed scan of the room, and getting this process right can be both time-consuming and annoying. Computer science students at the University of Washington decided to fix that by turning it into a game.
We've got Google Maps to help us out when we need to navigate outdoors, but Google can only map out so many indoor locations without getting creepy. And that's where Stimulant comes in. This "innovation studio" built a HoloLens app that lets you map out an area, define locations, and use the headset to get instant directions to any defined location.
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").
If you've ever been inspired to try out 3D modeling after enjoying computer-generated imagery in video games and movies, chances are you've checked out an paid applications like 3ds Max (previously called 3D Studio Max), or even free ones like Blender, then just went "No Way! It's way too complicated."
Tricking your eyes into seeing 3D images isn't all that hard in movies or even in virtual reality, but when you start projecting holograms into the physical world, you run into some difficult problems. Microsoft obviously figured them out with their HoloLens, but how? The process is pretty amazing.
Sure, sites like SeatGuru can show you which seats are the best—but in a 2D graphical form that doesn't really show you what the plane actually looks like inside and out. Aircraft Explorer contains 3D models you can peer inside of to check out what the next plane you catch will actually look like.
User interfaces for computers have evolved over the years, from the introduction of the keyboard and mouse on the personal computer, to touchscreens on mobile devices, to natural voice recognition. However, the same cannot be said for robots or drones—until now.
Microsoft's HoloLens has two gestures: bloom and air tap. While the two might not seem like much to learn, some people struggle with the air tap because the headset can be a bit particular. The easiest way to learn the proper form is to look through someone else's eyes while they do it, so we've captured that for you.
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.
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.
Logan's Run is one of my favorite movies of all time. The dialog is cheesy, the set design and special effects are wonky, and the main villain looks like he was conceived and built by an eighth grader in shop class—oh, and his name is Box.
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.
Pokémon GO has had an incredible impact on gamers in a way we've never seen before, but you can only do so much in augmented reality on a smartphone. It's clear we're headed for more immersive experiences, but the Amsterdam-based development studio Capitola VR already created a proof-of-concept version of the game that works on the Microsoft HoloLens.
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.
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.
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.
When developing for the HoloLens, keeping a constant 60 fps (frames per second) while making things look beautiful is a challenge. Balancing the processing power to display complex models and keeping the frame rate where it needs is just a straight up painful process, but a solution seems to be on the horizon.
The list of HoloLens applications continues to grow as more companies discover ways to enhance their operations using augmented reality. Air New Zealand is the latest to show interest in the technology, demonstrating their vision for AR in a new concept video.