Microsoft’s HoloLens stands as an intriguing prospect for ‘mixed reality’. Unlike the traditional virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs), HoloLens doesn’t entirely block out your vision, nor does it limit the field of view in the same way that many augmented reality (AR) HMDs do. That offers some interesting opportunities for multi-person use, and Microsoft has revealed the first such possibility at their Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC), Toronto.
In a presentation about how existing software (and practices therein) can easily be adapted for use with HoloLens, Microsoft discussed the possibilities of using 3D modelling tool Maya with the HMD. An expansion of the motorcycle teaser revealed alongside the device itself, Dan McCulloch, Studio Manager, Windows & Devices, demonstrated how visuals created on a PC package could then be skinned in real-time atop a real world object. Further to this, he demonstrated how that skin could then be manipulated with hand gestures and the data transferred directly back into the PC program.
Later in the talk, McCulloch introduced a colleague who was based in Barcelona, a significant distance from the presentation, and displayed his input via a hologram. The HoloLens recorded this secondary user’s position relative to the object and their viewpoint while allowing them to record a message to the primary user.
“Using HoloLens we have shown that it can revolutionise the way people work, play, communicate, learn and create,” stated McCulloch, “I want to show you another example of how holograms can change the way you work and create.”
While the demonstration offered erred very much on the side of design and creativity, there’s no doubt that this technology offers some extremely exciting possibilities for entertainment also. Asymmetrical gameplay between two users is easy to imagine, but in time could we see more complicated real-time experiences? VRFocus will of course keep you updated with the multi-user potential of Microsoft’s HoloLens.