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.


Windows Holographic on Windows 10

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We just released some exciting news about Windows Holographic – the platform included with Windows 10 – which powers the amazing mixed reality experiences available on Microsoft HoloLens.
Starting soon, Windows Holographic will be coming to devices of all shapes and sizes – from fully immersive virtual reality to fully untethered holographic computing.
Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3D image of a real object, or bringing the holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate. This is what we mean by mixed reality – where we break down the barriers between virtual and physical reality.
We are dramatically expanding the potential of these mixed reality experiences on Windows 10 by inviting our partners to build PCs, displays, accessories and mixed reality devices with the Windows Holographic platform.


hololens managed solution

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.


GoPro brings us inside some of the biggest barrels in Tahiti with new Facebook 360-Degree Video: a step towards even more immersive experiences

Facebook released 360-degree video support in September and it is now available on iPhones and other iOS devices, allowing users to get a full 360 immersive experience by moving their camera around.
On Nov. 12, GoPro launched its new spherical content shot with its proprietary six-camera spherical rig announced earlier this year. The video features Anthony Walsh and Matahi Drollet as they bring us inside some of the biggest barrels Tahiti has to offer in full 360-degrees.
The first two GoPro 360-videos featured Ronnie Renner FMX doing some wicked dune jumping in Idaho and skiers Julia Mancuso and Chris Davenport sliding down the slopes of Chile.
"This opens new ways of sharing experiences and makes you feel like you're part of what you're watching. It's a step towards even more immersive experiences," said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. "We think people will share a lot more 360 content in the future, especially as technology makes it easier to record it themselves," he wrote in a new Facebook post.
"People can discover these immersive 360 videos right in News Feed on web, iOS, and Android, where viewers can choose what angle they want to see it from," GoPro explained. Check out GoPro's new 360-degree video on Facebook.
Facebook 360 Degree Video:
(Photo: GoPro)

Virtual Reality

Technology: Making Dreams A Virtual Reality

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
Here’s the story of a 17 year old man, Aiden Fay, from San Diego who has dreamed of flying ever since he was a young boy. After meeting the minimum age requirement to obtain a private pilot license, Aiden asked his parents’ permission to attend flight school. After some persuading, and knowing it was his lifelong dream to become a pilot, they agreed. As part of attending flight school, he had to take a routine aviation medical exam. Unfortunately, after his first lesson Aiden received a letter in the mail officially denying him due to a pre-existing medical condition.
Our story could have ended here but luckily this story has a happy ending. Proving that passion and necessity are an impetus for invention, Aiden decided to build his own Cessna Flight Simulator. Leveraging the Oculus VR Rift virtual reality headset, real airline rudder pedals purchased from eBay, and even going so far as design the circuit board himself, he was now able to fly anywhere he wanted in the world from the comfort of his bedroom. The integration between the Oculus VR Rift and cockpit instruments he designed are close to flawless. When he looks through the Oculus VR Rift, it matches almost perfectly with the control panel. As he turns his head to look around the cockpit and wherever he may be “flying” that day, everything is being presented through this device giving him a complete sense of immersion.
Though the Oculus VR Rift will not be released to the public until next Spring, Aiden’s flight simulator program can currently be found online. Better yet, the physical simulator he built is now garnering attention from Silicon Valley, including Oculus VR inventor and cofounder, Palmer Luckey. It goes to show how something that starts as a roadblock can be transformed into a catapult to bigger and better things. There are other stories out there about how the Oculus VR Rift is being used as a new approach to solve a myriad of challenges in industries such as Biotech/Life Science, Manufacturing, Architecture, etc.
I typically write about Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions and how it empowers businesses to become smarter and more agile. After hearing Aiden’s story I was inspired to switch gears this week because I felt it stood as a good reminder. Technology isn’t a product, a new electronic gadget, or piece of software. It is a vehicle or new way of accomplishing something that may not have been possible before. It helps us move forward whether to overcome a mundane challenge or, in this case, make a dream come true.
Photo source:

About the author:

Will has over 16 years of experience in business development, team management, and project management. Will has worked at Managed Solution for over four years and is currently advising businesses on best CRM practices and implementations. Will’s focus is on process improvement and analytics specializing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Will is a Microsoft Certified Professional, with certifications in Presales Technical Specialist – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Sales Specialist- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Application, Sales Specialist- Office 365, Sales Specialist- SMB Infrastructure and Sales Specialist- Datacenter.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:


Oculus, the virtual reality company owned by Facebook Inc, debuted the much anticipated consumer version of its headset on Thursday and announced a partnership with Microsoft Corp's Xbox One gaming console.
A prototype of the Oculus Rift has been available to developers since 2013, but Thursday marked the first time anyone had seen the consumer version, which will be available for pre-order later this year and will start shipping in early 2016.
Oculus Chief Executive Brendan Iribe said during the unveiling in San Francisco that the Rift will include a wireless Xbox controller and adapter. Consumers will also be able to directly stream Xbox One games into the Rift, such as the popular game Halo, a first-person shooter game.
Facebook Inc bought Oculus last year for $2 billion and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has said he views virtual reality as the next major computing platform.
Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey unexpectedly announced that the Rift will include wireless hand controllers that resemble bracelets to raucous applause.
The controllers will enable consumers to use their hands to interact with games, whether it's pulling a trigger on a virtual gun or using communicative gestures with other players.
"One of the first things people do is they reach out into this virtual world," Luckey said. "We wanted to create an input device that allows people to reach out."
At the start of the event, Iribe held the headset in one hand, pointing to its light weight and ability to adjust to any head size. The Rift will also fit over a pair of eyeglasses, he added, and includes adjustable headphones and lenses.
Iribe said the Rift is tightly integrated with Microsoft's Windows and hinted that "there is a lot more to come" with the computer company.
Several game developers showed demo videos of how their products will work in the Rift. Nate Mitchell, Oculus vice president of product, also announced "Oculus Home," a portal where games are bought and downloaded.
Iribe did not say how much the headset will cost. At a conference last month, he said he expects the Rift and the computer needed to run it will cost around $1,500.
Company executives said they plan to release more details about the Rift at next week's E3 video game conference in Los Angeles and at a developer conference in September.
(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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