Students demonstrate their HoloLens apps after a quarter of VR and AR design

By Devin Coldewey as written on

hololens tech crunch

It’s just about impossible to get your hands on Microsoft’s impressive mixed-reality HoloLens platform these days — unless you’re a computer science student at the University of Washington. Then you get to play with them whenever you want.

At least that’s the case for the students in CSE 481V, in which, according to the course description, you will “learn a ton about Virtual and Augmented Reality, get familiar with the latest technology and software, and build an app in 10 weeks.”

This is the first time the course has been offered in this fashion, with generous underwriting by local VR/AR players Microsoft, Oculus and Valve/HTC. The 36 students in the course had access to the HoloLens dev team and all the major headsets — there were 25 HoloLenses involved, which is probably more than have ever been in one place. Students also got to hear from guest speakers like Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash and author Neal Stephenson — whose “Snow Crash” was required reading for the course.

All in all, it’s enough to make a guy want to matriculate.

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“We pitched the idea of a VR/AR class last year to HoloLens leadership and they immediately got excited and were eager to make it happen,” wrote Steve Seitz, one of the class’s instructors. “I was initially quite worried about the idea of relying on a brand new device and development platform for a 36 person class. But I’m extremely impressed with the development environment… it was good enough that students with no prior experience could get up and running quickly and make some really compelling applications in just a few weeks.”

You can see what those applications were at the course webpage, complete with weekly blog posts showing progress from concept to execution. There’s augmented reality cooking, a painting app and the clever idea of gamifying the process of scanning a room so it can be used in other apps.

The class culminated in a sort of open demo day at the UW campus, where students could show off their work to the general public and serious players like Microsoft Research’s CVP Peter Lee.

It’s a great opportunity for students, no doubt, but also a fertile testing ground for the companies in the space. How did these fresh young minds interact with the technologies? What did they run up against? What tools did they wish they had? This kind of extensive focus testing is always valuable, not to say this was an ulterior motive, just that it was no doubt a fruitful collaboration.

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“For the HoloLens team, this was an opportunity to evaluate the platform in a focused educational settings, and get early feedback,” wrote Seitz. The team also provided technical support and training.

Seitz and the class’s other instructor, Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, aim to offer the class again next year. UW is, of course, a convenient location for Microsoft to work with, but the institution is also a hub for research in this area, having pioneered many VR and AR ideas early on in its famous HITLab.

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See how Japan Airlines will transform the way airline mechanics are trained with a mixed reality app built for Microsoft HoloLens. This is just the beginning of what JAL expects to achieve with HoloLens.



CEO's Gather for First-Ever Mixed Reality Experience

CEO's from San Diego Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies Winners List Gather for Bleeding-Edge, Immersive, Holographic Experience

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“Experiencing mixed-reality is truly mind-blowing and I can’t wait to see the looks on the faces of these area execs as they complete their holographic mission.” -Jackie Wiener, VP Marketing & Customer Engagement, Managed Solution

San Diego, CA –Managed Solution, San Diego’s fastest growing full-service technology firm, plans to unveil its newly created app for Microsoft’s HoloLens, Thursday, August 11th, 2016, at San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewery. This C-Level engagement is set to introduce their innovative app and the latest in holographic technology to the area’s best and brightest CEO’s.
Combining mixed and augmented reality, Microsoft Hololens takes Pokemon Go to the next level and beyond. Microsoft's HoloLens creates a real life, holographic mixed reality experience that you've only seen in SciFi Movies.
Managed Solution’s take on the technology includes an immersive, holographic app designed by female developer & award-winner, Jackie Wiener, VP of Marketing & Customer Engagement. Wiener put in her bid to be part of the external development group more than a year ago, recently gaining acceptance into the tightly restricted program. HoloLens is not yet publically available, making this experience even more rare.
“We are hosting this Invite-only event geared at exciting Southern California’s top CEO's to envision how mixed reality technology can amplify business, said Wiener.” “Experiencing mixed-reality is truly mind-blowing and I can’t wait to see the looks on the faces of these area execs as they complete their holographic mission.”
This one-of-a-kind event includes a C-level Contest where CEO's compete in a timed, augmented reality mission. Each CEO will sport the untethered, holographic enabled headset and will be tested on the execution, retention, and speed of the information received.
Events are being scheduled in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Phoenix.
Microsoft’s HoloLens is a holographic application built inside a sleek, flashy headset with transparent lenses. The outside world is still visible but suddenly your world can be transformed -- with 3D objects floating in midair, virtual screens on the wall and the surrounding area covered in virtual characters.
To request an invitation to this invite-only event contact Liliana Ciurlino @ or call (858) 429-3025
About Managed Solution:
Managed Solution is a full-service technology firm that empowers businesses by delivering, maintaining and forecasting the technologies they’ll need to stay competitive in their market place. Regional Partners with Microsoft & Microsoft's United States SMB Champions Club West Region Marketer of the Year 2016, Managed Solution provides software migration, hardware, project implementation and managed services for small to enterprise size clients.
Managed Solution was founded in 2002 and was quickly recognized as one of San Diego’s 40 fastest growing companies and the 27th fastest growing IT company in Southern California. With corporate headquarters in San Diego, Managed Solution provides IT services nationwide and was recently recognized as one of the top 10 National Cloud Service Providers.
For more information or media inquiries please email Liliana Ciurlino @ or call (858) 429-3025



Pokemon Go is 'gold' for our HoloLens, says Microsoft's CEO

Satya Nadella waxes hopeful that the Pokemon Go boom will translate into increased interest in Microsoft's augmented reality headset.


By Ry Cist as written on
As Pokemon goes, so goes augmented reality.
That's the hope, at least, for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He told CNBC that the hugely successful Pokemon Go app, which has millions of people chasing down monsters on real-world streets using their phones, is a phenomenon that spells good things for his company's augmented-reality headset, the HoloLens.
"I think it's fantastic to see these augmented-reality applications getting built, because the best thing that can happen when you're creating a new category is for applications that are these killer apps, whether it be game or in the industrial scenario, to get invested in," Nadella said.
Microsoft has already made a point of demonstrating the potential for gaming in augmented reality, with impressive HoloLens demonstrations that transform living rooms into combat zones and that bring the world of Minecraft to your coffee table.
Pokemon Go, meanwhile, has reinvigorated enthusiasm for Nintendo among both gamers and investors, even as it had developer Niantic Labs scrambling to address privacy concerns that the game unleashed.
Nadella was speaking alongside Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, who agreed that the Pokemon craze -- just barely a week old -- is a clear indicator of the potential for augmented reality to break through. Beyond gaming, both Immelt and Nadella expect augmented reality to have a transformative effect on industry in the coming years.
"I'm not a great gamer, so I can't really say how much that's worth -- but the industrial applications of this are going to be billions of dollars of productivity," Immelt said.


Bringing Outlook Mail and Calendar to Microsoft HoloLens

Today, we are thrilled to bring the first holographic email and calendaring apps, Outlook Mail and Calendar, to Microsoft HoloLens—the first fully self-contained holographic computer. Our team is eager to get Outlook apps into the hands of early HoloLens developers to allow them to experience the benefits of email and calendaring in mixed reality.


Outlook Mail on HoloLens—personalize the app by choosing an accent that matches your surroundings.


With Outlook Mail on HoloLens, you can now place your inbox on your office wall to stay on top of emails while simultaneously interacting with other digital content in your real world. You can also quickly see what’s coming up next in your day with your new wall calendar. Since Outlook Mail and Calendar apps are built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), like other Office apps for HoloLens released at //build 2016, it was easy for our developers to deliver a familiar experience to users who are already using the apps on Windows 10 PCs, tablets and phones.


Outlook Calendar on HoloLens—vertically resize the app to see even more of your day.


This release is just the beginning, and we’re excited about the opportunities that HoloLens presents to build new and powerful ways of staying connected, productive and on top of your schedule. We are far from done innovating in mixed reality and would love to hear your feedback on how you use Outlook Mail and Calendar on HoloLens and what features you want to see next.
We invite HoloLens developers to install the Outlook Mail and Calendar apps from Windows Store on HoloLens and write to us with your feedback, comments and questions at the developer forums.

How Microsoft Conjured Up Real-Life Star Wars Holograms

By Brian Barrett as written on

Help me, HoloLens. You’re my only hope.

OK, so maybe it’s not quite time to write R2-D2 out of Star Wars quite yet. But Microsoft researchers have created something that brings one of the droid’s best tricks to our present-day lives. It’s called holoportation, and it could change how we communicate over long distances forever. Also, it makes for one hell of a demo.

It started, though, as a response to homesickness, says project lead Shahram Izadi. His Cambridge (UK)-based team, which focuses on 3D-sensor technologies and machine learning among other next-generation computing concerns, had spent two and a half years embedded with the HoloLens team in Redmond, Washington. Izadi is a father—that’s his daughter in the demo video—and when the time came to dream up the next challenge, they turned to the one that most affected their personal and professional lives during that stretch: communication.

“We have two young children, and there was really this sense of not really being able to communicate as effectively as we would have liked,” Izadi says. “Tools such as video conferencing, phone calls, are just not engaging enough for young children. It’s just not the same as physically being there.”

So they created something that, in several key ways, is. Holoportation, as the name implies, projects a live hologram of a person into another room, where they can interact with whomever’s present in real time as though they were actually there. In this way, it actually one-ups the classic Star Wars version, in which a recorded message appears in hologram form. Holoportation can do that, too, but the real magic is in what basically amounts to a holographic livestream.

As you might imagine, that takes a lot of horsepower.

I’ll Take You There

The Holoportation system starts with high-quality 3D-capture cameras placed strategically around a given space. Think of each of them as a Kinect camera with a serious power-up. “Kinect is designed to track the human skeleton,” says Izadi. “We’re really about capturing high quality detail of the human body, to reconstruct every feature. That has required a rethinking of the 3D sensor from the ground up.”

Once those cameras have captured every possible viewpoint, custom software stitches them together into one fully formed 3D model. This process is ongoing, Izadi says, as more frames of data make for a higher-quality model. The accumulated data results in an incredibly lifelike hologram that can be transported anywhere in the world that has a receiving system, like, say, a HoloLens. And it can do it fast.

“We want to do all of this processing in a tiny window, around 33 milliseconds to process all the data coming from all of the cameras at once, basically, and also create a temporal model, and then stream the data,” says Izadi, whose team leans on a small army of off-the-shelf (but high-end) Nvidia GPUs to crunch the relevant numbers.

But wait, you’re saying, that must be an insane amount of data to transmit. You’re right! Not only does the holoportation process generate mountains of data, Izadi points out that most streaming video codecs aren’t particularly 3D-friendly. That makes compression, which in this case transforms gigabytes into megabytes, a huge part of making holoportation work.

Aligning Worlds

To be clear, what you’re seeing in this video is real. It actually does work. There are still some hurdles to overcome before holoportation becomes a part of our everyday lives, though. You’ll notice, for instance, that the furniture in the two rooms that Microsoft uses is identical, making interaction much more seamless than it would be with the furniture from two rooms overlapping, or people walking through desks, and so on. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution: Train the cameras to only focus on the items you want to holoport, rather than an entire room.

“The user could potentially decide that they don’t want to replicate any furniture,” says Izadi. “We have this notion of background segmentation, where you capture the room just with the furniture in it, and that means that only the foreground object that goes into the room after will be of interest for the stream.” You could also strategically incorporate certain pieces of furniture by deciding how the two rooms align. Take, as an example, two grandparents holoporting in from their couch so that they can experience Christmas morning. Rather than let them float in mid-air, one could decide to orient their seated holograms onto the couch in their own living room.

This gets to be fairly heady stuff. For now, it’s probably enough to know that Izadi’s team is aware of potential spatial problems, and sees them instead as opportunities. After all, Izadi ultimately sees the project as a consumer device. We already have dedicated home theaters; why not dedicated home holoportation rooms, as well?

“The end goal and vision for the project is really to boil this down to something that’s as simple as a home cinema system” says Izadi. “You walk in to a number of these almost speaker-like units, in a way that you would set up surround sound, but this is giving you surround-vision.”

Long before then, maybe even within a couple of years, Izadi expects that you might find holoportation rigs in meeting rooms. And while it would be expensive—that’s a lot of cameras, and a lot of GPUs—he points out that global business travel costs about a trillion dollars a year. Holoportation starts to look a lot less expensive next to a round trip ticket to Shanghai.

Also intriguing? While Izadi’s team has worked closely with HoloLens, their system doesn’t play hardware favorites. All you’d really need to enjoy, at the receiving site, is an virtual reality or augmented reality headset.

“We’re very much agnostic to what we call the ‘viewer’ technology,” says Izadi. “Obviously we feel like there are some unique scenarios with HoloLens, but we would like to leverage as many display technologies as possible.”

Including, one suspects, plucky little droids.

About Managed Solution

We're technology enthusiasts with a people-first approach. For over two decades, we've witnessed the profound impact that the right technology and support can have on businesses and individuals. Success, to us, is seeing our clients, partners, and team conquer challenges to achieve their greatest goals and build lasting connections. This relentless pursuit of inspiration drives us forward, pushing us to deliver innovative solutions that empower growth and lasting success.

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Microsoft HoloLens in space: Making science fiction (mixed) reality

By Alex Kipman as written on

In December, a shuttle resupply mission successfully reached the International Space Station. Among the cargo were two Microsoft HoloLens devices for use as a part of NASA’s Sidekick project. The goal of Sidekick is to enable station crews with assistance when and where they need it. According to NASA, this new capability could reduce crew training requirements and increase the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space.

We were thrilled to see some early pictures today of astronaut Scott Kelly with HoloLens at the International Space Station!

To provide a little background on the project, Sidekick has two modes of operation. The first is “Remote Expert Mode,” which uses Skype, to allow a ground operator to see what a crew member sees, provide real-time guidance, and draw annotations into the crew member’s environment to coach him or her through a task. Until now, crew members have relied on written and voice instructions when performing complex repair tasks or experiments.

The second mode is “Procedure Mode,” which augments standalone procedures with animated holographic illustrations displayed on top of the objects with which the crew is interacting. This capability could lessen the amount of training that future crews will require and could be an invaluable resource for missions deep into our solar system, where communication delays complicate difficult operations.

In order to prepare for the mission, and what it would be like to use HoloLens at the International Space Station, NASA had a chance to experiment with it quite a bit at the Aquarius underwater research station as a part of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations NEEMO. Below are a few pictures of Astronaut Luca Parmitano using HoloLens at the underwater facility.

And we’re happy to report that HoloLens is mission operational at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory – exploring Mars using holograms of Mars Rover images.

We couldn’t be more thrilled about the work we are doing with NASA – I can’t wait to see more from the crew at the International Space Station!

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Astronauts receive Hololens in space today, uses revealed

Recently it was revealed that Microsoft teamed up with NASA to send it’s HoloLens wearable into space. Today that became a reality, with two lone astronauts receiving over 7,700 pounds of supplies, including food, science experiments, and two Microsoft HoloLens headsets.
Astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are spending over a year aboard the International Space Station in a scientific experiment detailing exactly how long missions in space can affect the human body.
In a live interview earlier today, the guys over at Popular Science got to ask exactly what uses the HoloLens could have for them as they finish their year long mission in space. According to Scott Kelly:
You know I actually got the opportunity to try that out before I launched, and it seems like there are certain capabilities that would be good for us onboard the space station. One would be, you know right now we look at the computer or an iPad to look at procedures. And if you could have a procedure right in your field-of-view, something that was command-able with your voice, you know where you could scroll through the different steps, that would be helpful. It also has this capability where somebody on the ground perhaps could be looking basically at what you’re looking at, and be able to write in your field of view. So let’s say we’re working on a piece of hardware, and we’re not that familiar with it, but we have an expert on the ground, you know that person could basically see what we’re seeing and make annotations, point to things, and kind of lead us through a particular activity. You know that’s one of the many capabilities of that, or similar hardware, that we’re excited about.
These are features that we know the HoloLens to have, in addition to many, many more. Now all we need is to get them to swap that iPad out for a Surface Pro 4 for a complete Microsoft experience.

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