Portal On HoloLens Might Be The Coolest Use Of Mixed Reality Yet

by Jamie Feltham • February 6th, 2017

If our wishes come true, Valve will one day bring Portal to VR headsets. But what might the beloved puzzle series look like if it was brought into the real world with mixed reality?

That’s a question developer Kenny W set out to answer with this incredible fan-made project that combines the crazy world of Aperture Science with our own. As a simple side project, the developer has brought a fully functioning Portal gun onto Microsoft’s HoloLens, and it’s able to shoot its iconic orange and blue reality-defying doors onto different surfaces in the real world.

While you obviously can’t step through them to teleport yourself (it’s running on HoloLens, not magic), the app does feature the lovable companion cube, which can be placed in one portal and then fall out of the other.

As you can see in the trailer above, this brings a lot of the mind-bending rules of Valve’s videogame into the real world. At one point the user has the cube continuously falling through two portals before switching one of them to fire it across the room. HoloLens is able to recognize objects within your space, thus the cube bounces off of walls and lands on surfaces like tables. It even realistically rolls down a set of stairs.


It’s not a full game as such, and the portals don’t visually reflect the place they lead to like in the real game, though that’s impossible with the current HoloLens hardware. At one point the player does topple a gun turret that could have otherwise shot at him, proving that there’s definitely challenge to be had here, but you’re not likely to see this evolve into a full MR game without Valve’s official approval, especially while HoloLens itself remains a developer kit and not a full consumer product.

Still, Valve has approved of fan-made VR minigames set in its universe, so there’s always hope.

We do know that Valve is making its own VR videogames and, if we’re lucky, it just might be a new entry in the Portal series. If it’s anything as cool as this, it could be one of the best VR apps yet.

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What's your reaction?
  • Now I’m working with HoloLens for a project… and wow, I like this very much… a really simple idea to implement but very effective! Great job!

  • Robbie Cartwright

    the only thing I want fixed is the fact that you have to use pinch gestures for everything. If Microsoft could make something like Touch for their lens it would be great! ^^

    • DougP

      Re: “If Microsoft could make something like Touch”
      Why re-invent the wheel? Just integrate with lighthouse tracking & use the vive tracking pucks? 2 for hands/arms or few more for full body with kinematics – perfect for your body/character/avatar?
      Check-out IKenima article using these.

      • Robbie Cartwright

        Cause then you can’t just walk away from the stations and have tracking stick with you. The tracking needs to be based around the headset instead of two objects static in the environment in order for it to be portable, which is Hololens’ whole point.

        • DougP

          Depends on goal/what you’re thinking of doing with it & timeline I suppose. I was thinking more of mixed-reality creation combined with body tracking/kinetics uses.
          Inside out (self contained) tracking is obviously the ultimate goal for tracking AR.

          • Robbie Cartwright

            Yeah, good point. I was thinking more along the lines of pop in and play it wherever you are with no setup other than putting on gloves/controllers and the Hololens, but for MR your’s does make sense.

          • DougP

            Seeing all of this progressing so quickly has be incredibly encouraged as to what we’re gonna see in gen2/future hardware the next few years. So many applications, both inside & outside of gaming, with tracking the person & presenting their avatar.

  • polysix

    AR will always come off more of a gimmick (for games anyway not utility or home apps) than VR imo. It’s always kind of ‘cool look a such and such on my stairs” but it’s still your stairs. It’s a novelty in that respect.

    Meanwhile VR actually TELEPORTS (no pun) you to another dimension. We just need better locomotion solutions/tech in the future.