News: HoloToolkit's Expanded Spatial Mapping Capabilities on HoloLens Now Open Source

HoloToolkit's Expanded Spatial Mapping Capabilities on HoloLens Now Open Source

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.

Fragments' spatial mapping. Image by Microsoft HoloLens/YouTube

In a recently released video, Microsoft announced that the Spatial Understanding module in the HoloToolkit has been open-sourced and is directly based on the work from Asobo Studios. This new module not only looks a great deal better, it also adds a ton of benefits in a variety of queries. The primary goals of these queries are to allow the developer to dynamically search for spaces they can use in an area.

For instance, if a designer is looking to have a control panel hanging from the ceiling, the query allows them to find a space on the ceiling that is the correct size and shape to place the control panel. This adds a lot of capabilities to the HoloLens that teams would have otherwise had to create themselves.

Image by Microsoft HoloLens/YouTube

Now, I have used the Spatial Understanding module a bit since it landed in the HoloToolkit a couple months ago. That said, this video does a great job of breaking down the capabilities of this newer module:

  • Topology Queries: Fast queries for finding large spaces like a floor or wall.
  • Shape Queries: Using the results of the Topology Queries, Shape help find horizontal surfaces that fit your needs.
  • Object Placement Queries: More complex queries for more detailed needs.
Image by Microsoft HoloLens/YouTube

Having tools like this in the HoloToolkit do nothing but help speed development teams along to making great software for the HoloLens. For a more detailed look on this subject, make sure and check out Microsoft's full case study.

Keep your browser pointed to NextReality for the HoloToolkit series starting soon.

Have you used the Spatial Understanding Module? Tell us what you think about it in the comments below.

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Cover image by Microsoft

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