windows 10 briefing

Microsoft Announces Holographic Augmented Reality Project

by Mike Futter on Jan 21, 2015 at 06:54 AM

Microsoft has taken the other path. Instead of pursuing virtual reality like Oculus and Sony, the company has chosen to invest in augmented reality.

The concept video shown demonstrates potential applications for entertainment, design, engineering, and scientific exploration. Rather than lean on the term “augmented reality,” Microsoft has opted to call the project Windows Holographic.

Unlike virtual reality, which encloses the user in a simulated environment, augmented reality overlays digital constructs on top of the real environment. Every Windows 10 device will support Holographics.

In order to see the holograms, you're going to need to wear Microsoft's head-mounted display, the HoloLens. It features integrated sound and operates fully wirelessly. 

There are no external cameras, phones, or environmental markers required to make the device work. Microsoft’s HoloStudio will give users the opportunity to create and “3D print” their own holograms. These can then be shared with other users. 

The HoloLens uses voice commands, gaze tracking, and tap gestures to navigate and activate menus. In HoloStudio, the tapping gesture can be used to glue pieces of a construct, spray colors, rotate, and resize.

Once complete, the holograms can be sent to a 3D printer for construction. Project director Alex Kipman showed a working prototype of a quad-copter created with HoloStudio.