Microsoft recently showed off an impressive tech demo for HoloLens called Holoportation. It let users in different locations share the same 3D virtual space in real-time. It would be like having a Skype call but you can really see the other person there with you in the same room. The demo worked really well but it’s quite impractical for now. The problem is that it requires 3D body scanning by expensive equipment set up all around you, which is easy enough for Microsoft but not most of us.
Yesterday at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference, Object Theory announced a partnership with Microsoft in bringing their “Mixed Reality Collaboration” to the HoloLens. Instead of scanning the users’ bodies, only the head movements are tracked and intelligently added to virtual bodies. Users can share the same virtual space using HoloLens without the need for the same amount of advanced equipment used in the Holoportation demo.
At the moment this looks like a collaboration tool that will be most useful for businesses. Imagine the avatars of several employees standing around a 3D hologram on a desk. This hologram could be a model of a building or product that’s being designed. If a user looks at specific part of the model, the others can track their line of sight so they know what’s being talked about.
The system would make sense for remote designers in industries such as fashion or architecture. For everyday communication purposes it won’t be as much use but it’s good to see that this type of remote communication using HoloLens doesn’t have to be as complicated as the impressive Holoportation demo. It’s a step in the right direction towards letting more casual users share 3D space.
The HoloLens Developer Edition kits should be arriving with people now so hopefully soon we’ll see some communication solutions as developers get their hands on the system.
Images © Object Theory