While all of my previous Have You Seen This? posts have all focused on individual HoloLens apps in the Windows Store, this time I'll be sharing a couple at once. These holographic applications are really simple in scope, so there is not a lot to say about them, yet they are interesting enough for me to want to share them with you.
News: Five Windows Holographic Mixed Reality Headsets Have Now Been Seen, but Most Have Not Been Touched
Some of the products I have been looking forward to seeing the most during CES 2017 has been the upcoming Windows Holographic virtual reality headsets. These are VR headset that will run a version of the Windows Holographic platform, which will allow users to have a similar experience as the HoloLens with a mixed reality environment. Of the six headsets that could have possibly made it to CES, five had shown up. Unfortunately, most of them are behind glass.
These days, if you walk through Best Buy, you will see an entire area designated to smart home technology. Thanks to the interest and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), this exciting new technology has finally entered the mainstream. Appliances, thermostats, and even the lighting throughout your house can be controlled from your computer or smartphone. You could also use artificial intelligence; Simply tell Amazon's Alexa what you want your house to do, and she will do it.
3D modeling is usually a very long and complicated process. Manipulating the thousands to millions of vertices, faces, and triangles to the correct shape you want is just the first part of the process, and can take a good while depending on the level of detail needed. From there, you need to texture the model by applying the UV coordinates and placing the textures in the correct places. And all of this isn't even including the process of creating normal maps.
For some time now, there has been quite a bit of speculation as to when the selection of augmented and mixed reality head-mounted displays would begin to trickle out to the public. Pricing, availability, and software selection are all issues that will have to be addressed before widespread adoption will start.
Have You Seen This?: HoloChess Is a Great Example of How to Make a HoloLens App Without the Hardware
I am often asked about getting started with HoloLens development and most of the time my answer, in short, is: Install Unity, install Visual Studio, install the HoloLens emulator, and make something.
Every day the young world of mixed reality is creating new ways for people to work with with computers. We are looking for, and finding, new ways for these head-worn computers to understand what we tell them. Sometimes it is with our hands, sometimes it is where we turn our head, sometimes it is what we say. In the case highlighted below, it's where we walk.
Once mixed reality technology is more widely available and realistically priced for consumers, using the tech to create the illusion of a larger space, will likely be a favorite use for mixed reality in places where real-estate is expensive, people tend to live in smaller homes and work in tighter offices.
In this first part of our tutorial series on making physical objects come to life on HoloLens, we are going to set up Vuforia in Unity.
It seems to me you can't swing a dead cat near an augmented reality developer without hearing the word Vuforia escape their lips. PTC's software solution has become the go-to for most developers in the mobile AR space, and since they recently added full support for the HoloLens in Unity, I figured it was about time we learn to make something with it.
Students from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center have been working on an augmented reality system to help teach music in a project called Music Everywhere.
The limitless applications of 3D data visualization will enable a more efficient approach to many of life's problems. Each day, developers exploring this technology are finding new ways to solve these problems in mixed reality; 3D modeling, easier house management, spinal surgery, and forest fire management are just a few recent examples of ways 3D data visualization can benefit us all.
Meta's long-awaited Meta 2 development kit finally began shipping in late-December last year, after having been delayed about six months. While very few have received a dev kit at this point, some more information about the headset has just been announced; Depth-sensing technology from pmdtechnologies is included in the dev kit headset.
Magic Leap, the mysterious Florida-based mixed reality start-up, announced on Wednesday that it would be opening a 260,000 square-foot expansion in Florida, and bringing along with it 725 new jobs over a five-year period. To make this happen, they will be making an $150 million capital investment, with government incentives, of course.
Last week, a new Kickstarter campaign arrived for a completely untethered, augmented reality headset for under $300 called Okularion. While at first glance, this unit looks very much like a Samsung Gear VR, one thing that sets it apart (aside from being untethered from a nearby computer) is that it does not require a smartphone. Well, that and it's an augmented reality headset as well.
A few days ago, I pulled up the Windows Store on my HoloLens and saw a few new applications. One that caught my attention was Oriental Museum, which lets you explore China's Forbidden City, and the other one is very similar free demo app called Secrets of Ancient Egypt by Link Development.
In this episode of Have You Seen This?, we will look at Oriental Museum by 247 Technology Limited, a free application that hit the Windows Store for HoloLens a few days ago. Museum exhibits seem to be a popular theme amongst the demonstrations going up, so let's see how this one looks.
Earlier this week, a mysterious tweet appeared on the HTC Twitter account of a picture containing the letter "U" topped with a tiny "for" and the date "01.12.2017" at the bottom. It is a pretty solid teaser, but for a company that has had a solid year with their Vive virtual reality headset, and all of the other technological appendages they have, it seems a bit ominous for them.
Here at NextReality, we talk a lot about the many different ways of controlling holograms in the HoloLens and other augmented and mixed reality devices; New and creative ways are coming more and more every day. Most recently is something called the HoloSuit. In the 25-second clip below, you can see a woman moving the arm of a jacket which in turn moves a 3D model of Darth Vader on the screen. It's a simple idea with big potential.
Well, we have some potentially good news for those wanting to experience Magic Leap. The ultra-secretive company seems to be planning a big year in 2017.
Joyce Kuo of Nijie Technology released a video showing a group fighting it out Dragon Ball Z-style in a restaurant, but instead of Goku, Piccolo or Vegeta, we have two horse-headed young ladies shooting fire and other elements at each other.
The Meta 2 developer kit has finally begun shipping! Gary Garcia, the senior director of customer success at Meta, just sent out an email that they are shipping out to the first round of preorder customers. Waves will be building from there, up to far higher manufacturing rates near the end of Q1 of 2017.
Imagine wearing your HoloLens, then reaching out to touch a hologram and actually feeling it. Mind blown, right?! Now imagine that same hologram responding to your touch. I don't mean in the way holograms currently respond to an air tap, but a much more refined and precise touch. Maybe you touch a character on the shoulder and it turns around to see you, or maybe you hit a button in the air and it reacts accordingly.
When the HoloStudy Demo app for HoloLens came out in September, it was a pretty impressive start to what could be a very valuable science tool for education. Now, Moscow-based HoloGroup, makers of HoloStudy, started an Indiegogo campaign to improve their modular teaching app.
This week, Dr. Sung-Hoon Hong, Vice President of Samsung Electronics, announced at the Virtual Reality Summit in San Diego that not only does Samsung have a new virtual reality headset coming, but that Samsung intends to enter the field of augmented reality, too. In fact, Hong talked very little about virtual reality and instead spoke at length about Samsung's move into augmented reality.
We've been hearing some interesting rumors in the last few days that are stirring up all kinds of speculation about the potential upcoming consumer release of the HoloLens. However, MSPoweruser has speculated a bit further past the consumer HoloLens release to a possible HoloLens 2 as soon as Q3 2017.
When developing for the HoloLens, keeping a constant 60 fps (frames per second) while making things look beautiful is a challenge. Balancing the processing power to display complex models and keeping the frame rate where it needs is just a straight up painful process, but a solution seems to be on the horizon.
Empea Berlin, a Germany-based company specializing in augmented, mixed, and virtual reality software, has released a video on Facebook showing off their experiments in smart home technology. Using a Raspberry Pi and a HoloLens unit, they were able to make a virtual remote control for an air conditioning unit. The remote is complete with various modes, temperature controls, timers, and other features.
For those familiar with my old YouTube series, New in the Store, you will be excited to know that I am starting something very similar here on NextReality that's a bit more broad in scope. Have You Seen This? will take a look at HoloLens applications that are new in the Windows Store, as well as some that may not have gotten the attention they deserve.
A new contender has entered the mixed reality ring. San Fransisco-based Occipital has just released an "Explorer Edition" of Bridge—an iPhone-based mixed and virtual reality headset that uses their popular Structure Sensor. At a fraction of the cost of a HoloLens developers kit, this could be a place many curious people use to find their NextReality.
The HoloToolkit offers a great many, simple ways to add what seems like extremely complex features of the HoloLens, but it can be a bit tricky if you're new to Windows Holographic. So this will be the first in an ongoing series designed to help new developers understand what exactly we can do with the HoloLens, and we'll start with voice commands.
With any continuously active software, it can start to become fairly complex after a few years of updates. New features and revisions both get layered into a thick mesh of menu systems and controls that even pro users can get bewildered by. If you are new to a certain application after it has been around for many years, it can be downright intimidating to know where to begin.
In response to the flurry of doubtful headlines about Magic Leap today, set off by an unflattering article from The Information, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz released a short blog post quickly detailing what to expect from the company over the next year. The gist comes down to this: big things are happening in 2017.
When the "Just another day in the office at Magic Leap" video was released last year, it was called a mind-blowing, stunning, and breathtaking take on mixed reality gaming. It was a great presentation of what the technology could be, but not for a second did I think it was anything other than a concept video, and I'm not the only one who thought that. This was a goal to reach for mixed reality, not the reality.
In mid-November, Vuforia officially released Vuforia 6.1, which has full support for the Microsoft HoloLens. They also released their AR Starter Kit to the Unity Asset Store, which contains scenes that show you how to use Vuforia features. While I have yet to find any confirmation, I believe it is safe to assume that the AR Starter Kit will work with the HoloLens. I already had a Vuforia tutorial planned for this week, so as soon as I know for sure, I will begin working on it.
At the WinHEC Shenzen 2016 Keynote, Microsoft showed off a system running Windows 10 smoothly on an ARM processor. This could be great news for developers of mixed reality software.
Ready to finally play some Pokémon on your HoloLens? Here is your chance! KennyWdev has released a video showing off his newest build of PokéLens, a Pokémon clone for the HoloLens similar to Pokémon GO. In the video, you get to see two Pokémon battle it out on what appears to be an office floor. Apparently, Pikachu is "super effective." This coincidentally appeared online the same day that another developer, Sky Zhou, showed off his Smash Brothers-style Pokémon game.
Beginners luck is a phrase I have always hated. But really, beginners luck comes down to not letting your experience in something get in the way of the idea.
As we slowly approach its January 3 start date, CES 2017 seems to be shaping up to be an exciting year for smart glasses as well as augmented and mixed reality.