icrosoft has recently released a new mixed reality platform which enables users to attend events and meetings remotely by appearing as a hologram.
During the unveiling earlier this month, CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella announced ‘Microsoft Mesh’, an augmented and virtual reality communication platform.
The event itself was actually the first demonstration of Microsoft Mesh, putting the new technology into practice, with attendees appearing at the conference as holographic avatars, but physically in their own home.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has become a daily tool in work life as companies adapted to working from home over the last year. According to a recent blog post, Microsoft stated that its new Mesh platform ‘allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences on many kinds of devices’.
Microsoft technician Alex Kipman spoke at the unveiling commenting that the platform users feel as though they are in the same place. Kipman himself appeared as a hologram at the event stating:
“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,”
Initially, users of the platform will be able to appear as avatars, however, Microsoft hope that the technology will eventually allow users to project themselves as their ‘most lifelike photorealistic selves’.
Microsoft’s director of Mixed Reality, Greg Sullivan, spoke in a recent interview about how the platform is already being used to develop HoloLens 3. Before the Mesh platform was developed, the Microsoft team would have to 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 process was lengthy and costly.
“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,”
The Mesh platform was developed on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, eliminating 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”.