News: Microsoft's Live HoloLens 2 Apollo 11 Demo Didn't Take Flight, but You Can See It Thanks to Unreal Engine's Video

Microsoft's Live HoloLens 2 Apollo 11 Demo Didn't Take Flight, but You Can See It Thanks to Unreal Engine's Video

On Monday, the Microsoft Build conference kicked off, showcasing a series of demos that went off without a hitch — except for one big one.

At the start of the show, the company was meant to show off the capabilities of the HoloLens 2 by highlighting a look at the historic Apollo 11 mission as an augmented reality story. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned.

Space historian Andy Chaikan and ILM's John Knoll took to the stage to narrate the immersive demonstration, but it just didn't work. Instead, after attempts to get things working, the presenters said, "Well it seems doing a live demo is harder than landing on the moon. Thanks for your time."

Luckily, there's a version of the demo as we were meant to see it, and it's on YouTube. Found on the Unreal Engine YouTube account, the roughly six-minute video offers the ideal version of what the demo was supposed to look like to viewers.

Image via Unreal Engine

"Creative communities across entertainment, visualization, design, manufacturing, and education eagerly anticipate Unreal Engine 4 native support for HoloLens 2, which Epic has confirmed will be released by the end of May," reads the message accompanying the video.

"During Microsoft Build, the Unreal Engine team unveiled a remarkable interactive visualization of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year."

Image via Unreal Engine

At one point, the video even shows a near life-sized virtual replica of the vehicle landing on stage. Soon after, a miniature NASA astronaut emerges from the spacecraft and sets foot on the virtual moon surface. It would have been a truly stunning demonstration if it had come together correctly.

That said, as someone who has used the HoloLens 2 in several settings, I can say that even the unsuccessful demo, as visualized on the Unreal Engine YouTube account, is a fair (albeit, not as translucent as the real thing) approximation of the kind of augmented reality the HoloLens 2 is capable of during regular use.

Hey, live productions are hard, Microsoft will likely do better next time.

The good news is that this video isn't selling you the moons and stars — this really is what the HoloLens 2 brings to immersive computing experiences, unsuccessful live demo or not.

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Cover image via Unreal Engine/YouTube

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