It's always great to see a company pull off a bit of augmented reality magic, but what we see is not always what it's cracked up to be.
Thankfully, as one of the few who has actually used the Microsoft HoloLens 2, I'm fairly certain that this latest demonstration is an accurate representation of what we have in store when using the device.
What's the magic this time? Your own AR clone with the ability to speak another language.
The dynamic was shown off by Julia White, Microsoft's senior vice president of Azure marketing, at this week's Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas.
Using a combination of what Microsoft calls AI neural TTS (text to speech) and what appears to be a volumetric capture of White's body, the company was able to produce a Japanese-speaking version of her in AR (a virtual construct they refer to as a hologram during the presentation).
The demonstration immediately brings to mind Magic Leap's MICA, in that that you're interacting with a life-sized virtual person that can engage real people in meaningful ways.
Of course, there's also a potential dark side when you consider that maintaining ownership of your virtual self in AR may prove to be tricky. But, assuming we can eventually figure out and normalize authentication protocols for our virtual clones, this could be a powerful new form of telepresence across international borders.
In the video, Microsoft doesn't offer details on when or if the experience will be widely available as an app, and we still don't know exactly when the HoloLens 2 will start shipping.
Nevertheless, if you were on the fence about pre-ordering the HoloLens 2, this demo might have just loosened your grip on your credit card just a bit more.
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