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Microsoft: ‘Mixed Reality is a Generational Shift in Computing’

Microsoft has championed their partnership with Unity Technologies for their holographic computing platform since the initial announcement of the HoloLens. Today, at Unite Europe 2017, Brandon Bray, Principle Program Manager at Microsoft, discussed exactly what this means, and how the Windows Universal Platform is bringing around huge changes in the future of computing.

In a talk entitled ‘Mixed Reality and the Next Evolution in Human Computer Interaction’, Bray made a very bold claim on behalf of Microsoft: “Mixed reality, for us, is really a generational shift in computing… Today is really the mobile generation, but holographic will be the next generation.”

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Of course, such a statement would not have been made without some significant evidence to back it up. Bray chose to argue the point not via statistics or charts, but rather through user experience and the opportunities merging digital realities with the real world can bring. Bray explained the difference between augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) by way of the ‘mixed reality spectrum, a theorem defined in an academic paper written by Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino.

“Where we start is this idea of a mixed reality spectrum. On one side we all live in a physical world, and we’re used to building digital worlds,” states Bray. “We can live in one or the other, but we can’t really bring them together. That’s what mixed reality does. That’s what’s called the mixed reality spectrum.

“Windows is a platform that lets you target all ends of the spectrum… if you’ve already been building for HoloLens, your target for other platforms will be really easy as you’ve already been using all the APIs you’ll need.”

Bray continues by explaining that there are certain APIs that have been developed for specific aspects of MR devices, such as motion-controllers and the opacity of the HoloLens screen. However, the bulk of the work for bringing titles to new head-mounted displays (HMDs) on the Windows Universal Platform (WUP) will be conducted through familiar tools.

During his talk, Bray also noted that the Lenovo MR HMD will launch in the 2017 holiday period, and offered three tips for developing a great MR App, which can be seen in the video below. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the MR developments on WUP and other Microsoft projects.