Microsoft Shows AR/VR Concept That Could Revolutionize How We Work

by Joe Durbin • May 11th, 2017

Microsoft owns the enterprise computing space. Windows-powered PCs run a huge portion of the global workforce. Today, the company demonstrated how its Windows Mixed Reality initiative could potentially be used in that massive market.

During the keynote address of its annual Build conference, Microsoft invited members of the Cirque du Soleil team up on stage. The members each donned a Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset and started showing the crowd how these products can be used in enterprise collaboration.

Together, the team appeared to devise and design a new stage layout for an upcoming production by summoning, altering and positioning simple assets from a menu. These objects could be moved freely by any of the members and all of them could see what was happening to their holographic layout in real time.

The real kicker, however, came when the group decided they needed input from another member of their team who was said to be across the Atlantic in Europe. This new team member was then beamed into the HoloLens wearer’s field of view as a slightly cartoonish avatar. The newcomer was said to be wearing one of Microsoft’s upcoming VR headsets rather than a HoloLens. We checked with Microsoft and though this impressive social VR demonstration is said to be an actual part of the application being shown, this interaction on stage was pre-recorded.

The VR avatar materialized on stage,

The VR avatar materialized on stage.

The VR avatar proceeded to join in the on-stage collaboration of the new set by altering the textures on the assets already placed by his AR-powered counterparts. He then left the same way he came by beaming away in a flash of blue light.

All of this represents an impressive use case for how these headsets, both AR and VR, could be used in Microsoft’s all-important enterprise market.

hololens work 3

The fact that Microsoft is creating and prioritizing socially collaborative mixed reality is a strong sign that it is taking this new computing paradigm seriously as a tool toward enterprise domination. Groups like NASA already use HoloLens regularly and improvements like this may make headset-based work a very real possibility for our future.

Stay tuned for more updates live from Build as the conference continues.

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  • GodMk2

    Is it just me or did that seem like a precanned show, I mean who has a rusty gear just the right shape for an arch that snaps in? IE the bit where the Virtul guy joined from Europe. Maybe they were using the actual product but it felt like I was watching a simulation of what it might look like. What want clear was how you go from primitives like a cylinder and sphere to the rendered full set. And how did they magic in some dancers? They looked like volumetric captures.

    • Having used HoloLens… I agree… it is all precanned. It is impossible to interact correctly 100% of the times… pinch gesture doesn’t get always detected correctly. Furthermore that number of polygon is insane to be handled by HL

      • Ian Hamilton

        We noted it in the story — it was all pre-planned.

        • Yep, I’ve seen it!

        • GodMk2

          Yeah – having re-read I should pay more attention :). In that case the demo is really pointless other than to say – we can do CGI well? I just hope they told the audience there they weren’t watching a real demo, just a mock up.

  • Microsoft strength relies in the fact that they’re creating an ecosystem that spans from AR to VR…