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Microsoft Introduces New Flashlight Feature for Mixed Reality

Imagine being ensconced within virtual reality (VR) and suddenly, your phone rings. You will probably spend a while flailing and trying to get out of the headset, or patting around trying to find where you left your phone. Microsoft are introducing a solution to this surprisingly common problem with a new feature called Flashlight.

The new feature is being brought into the newest Windows 10 builds, numbered as 17723 and 18204, available to those who are part of the Windows 10 Insider program. The Flashlight feature lets users take a look at the physical environment without needing to remove the headset.

With the latest Windows Insider build, users will be able to open a ‘portal’ into the real world at anytime, by using either a button shortcut, voice command or accessing the Start menu. This will open up a low-latency pass-through camera feed connected to the controller.

The new feature makes it possible to mix together the real and virtual worlds, as well as giving users more options if they should need to use the keyboard, grab a drink, or even look at their watch when they are wearing the headset.

Microsoft are keen for users of the Windows Insider Program to provide feedback on this new feature, as well as other changes which have been introduced into the preview builds.

While Windows Mixed Reality devices are still a long way from being as popular as other PC-based VR devices such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the recent Steam hardware survey showed that Windows MR devices were beginning to gain ground, increasing the market share to 6.25%.

Dell Visor

For those who are interested in trying out the Windows MR headset, there is currently a sale on over at the Microsoft Store, which is offering deals which could mean up to £130 (GBP) savings on the Dell Windows MR headset.

For future coverage of Windows MR, keep checking back with VRFocus.