Microsoft Working On Holograms And Augmented Reality To Replace Zoom
Microsoft has unveiled a new ‘mixed-reality’ platform that allows users to attend meetings and events remotely by appearing as holograms.
During a keynote speech earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced ‘Microsoft Mesh’, a virtual/augmented reality communication platform.
The actual event itself put the new technology into practice, with attendees appearing at the conference from the comfort of their living rooms and home offices as holographic avatars.
Over the course of the past year, Zoom has become a regular tool in daily work life as companies adapted to working from home.
As per a recent blog post, Microsoft said its Mesh system ‘allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences on many kinds of devices’.
Alex Kipman, a Microsoft technical fellow who also spoke at the event, said it allows users to feel as though they are in the same place. Kipman himself appeared as a hologram.
‘This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning. You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content, or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together,’ he said.
Microsoft said that initially people will be able to appear as avatars, with the technology eventually allowing them to project themselves as their ‘most lifelike photorealistic selves’.
Greg Sullivan, Microsoft’s director of Mixed Reality, told Mashable the platform is already being used to develop HoloLens 3.
Before the creation of Mesh, the team would print 3D prototypes of the product, which would then be handed out internally to the relevant staff before it was discussed at a conference. When corrections were suggested, the process would repeat.
‘The power of not having to go create another clay model of a car, or a mock-up 3D printed version of [HoloLens] is really impactful in terms of efficiency. That’s why we’re already using [Mesh] to design the next HoloLens because that scenario is super compelling,’ Sullivan told the publication.
Mesh has been built on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, excluding the need for any additional devices or equipment to use its service.
‘More and more we are building value in our intelligent cloud, which is Azure. In these collaborative experiences, the content is not inside my device or inside my application. The holographic content is in the cloud, and I just need the special lenses that allow me to see it,’ Kipman said.
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