VR & AR are dead… I have seen the future and it is MR (Mixed Reality) and it comes in the form of Microsoft’s HoloLens.
I was recently asked by a web developer friend of mine if I wanted to attend a developers conference on MR in Unity… I wasn’t sure what he meant but it sounded interesting and I was promised food and alcohol after the presentation, so I’m in….
I wasn't sure what MR was but was reliably informed "In mixed reality environments, users seamlessly navigate through both the real and virtual environments at the same time. " Sounds cool but I was very sceptical. Is this just another gimic (XBOX Konnect). We were introduced to the video below.
Yeah right as if it will work like this. Turns out it really does. Although the examples have been somewhat set up I was very impressed by the principle. The HoloLens glasses allow you to see the real world environment without your vision being impared and then overlays virtual elements by mapping the real world environment and creating a low poly map in real time. The mapping improves overtime to give a more accurate virtual representation of the space. Although it doesnt map dteatiled shapes, and flat surfaces are best, it can acuratley map a room and recognise where tables and furniture is placed. This then allows virtual objects to interact with the space.
This has been created in conjunction with Unity, a few simple plug ins from GitHub and we were away with ther demonstration. Drop in a cub, add built in speech recognition to add a rigidbody on a drop command and we had a cube fall and bounce off the table in mixed realty. It all seemed very simple.
So with this new exciting tech what is stopping you from developing for the new age? Cost. A developers HoloLens will set you back £2500 and is limited to five purchases and doesn't come with a warrenty?!? A fuul spec HoloLens will cost you over £4000!!!! A great new piece of tech but definatley out of most peoples price range.
But all is not lost there are going to be cheaper alternatives available and Unity is at the forefront of this technology. Watch this space for more information on the lower end of the MR spectrum in future articles.