Microsoft Demos Halo 5 on HoloLens to Show Off Headset’s Potential

2 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Here’s what playing Halo 5 on HoloLens looks like.

Streaming Halo from an Xbox One to a Microsoft HoloLens is, by itself, pretty awesome—though not quite in the way that an average gamer might hope for.Microsoft today announced the launch of a new website called Share Your Idea, where people can go to post and vote on what would be cool to see on the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality system.

Microsoft has yet to ship its first HoloLens holographic imaging device, but it is moving swiftly on to the next generation of development nonetheless. Microsoft HoloLens program manager Varun Mani demonstrated streaming Halo 5 from his Xbox One console to his HoloLens in a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday. At least, that appears to be the goal of a contest the company kicked off Tuesday: Think up the best idea for the augmented-reality device, and Microsoft itself will make it. The plan is to wind down work on its VR headset and platform in the country and shift development to a different technology in the U.S. “We continually evaluate our business needs and recently made decisions affecting some positions in one of our groups in Israel,” a spokesperson notes in a statement provided to TechCrunch in response to questions about the layoffs. “As needed, we increase investments in some areas and de-invest in others which results in the movement of jobs across the organization, and at times, job eliminations. Unfortunately, streaming the game to the HoloLens didn’t confer the ability to project the game in a 360-degree arc around him, allowing him to play the game in all directions.

It runs Windows 10, and it has a small, transparent display in the middle of a panel that goes across your vision that places digital displays and interactive windows around your environment. But today’s announcement — which follows reports of layoffs of 60 people on the HoloLens team in Israel — shows that Microsoft clearly wants more app ideas for it. Our priority is to work with and support employees affected by this decision.” HoloLens development in Israel up to now has been based around a team of engineers and others who joined Microsoft after it acquired an Israeli startup called 3DV Systems in 2009.

The winner will basically receive a front-row seat to the app’s development, contributing to “weekly build reviews, Q&A sessions, and more,” according to the post, and the winning idea will be developed by Microsoft’s designers, artists, and engineers. So far, Microsoft has said that all apps coded for the HoloLens will be “universal” apps capable of running on Windows 10 phones, tablets, and PCs, and that “all Universal Windows apps can be made to run on Microsoft HoloLens.” The HoloLens uses a special set of Windows Holographic APIs that track inputs like the user’s gaze, something its other hardware platforms don’t do. (I and other reporters were led through a demonstration of how to code for HoloLens earlier this year, complete with a hands-on of the new untethered hardware.) Why this matters: Microsoft wowed tech enthusiasts with early public demos and hands-on experiences with HoloLens. However, Microsoft disputed that interpretation, and indeed the eventual development of the HoloLens underscored that it had more in store for the talent and tech that it picked up reportedly for $35 million. If Microsoft is using any third party technology — similar to how it worked with PrimeSense on Kinect before it was acquired by Apple — one guess might be Magic Leap, a startup in Florida that has attracted a lot of attention after raising nearly $600 million to develop its own (still being developed) technologies.

MagicLeap is backed by Microsoft rival Google and its founder has actually publicly dissed the HoloLens in the past — two points that could count against it working with Microsoft. However, a recent report about yet more Magic Leap fundraising, to the tune of $1 billion, noted that the startup has dropped hints about working on “a souped-up version” of Google Glass or the HoloLens, so something may yet brew up between the companies. And in that context, whether development is in-house or with a third-party, it feels like Microsoft has a lot riding on HoloLens being a big hit, and working beautifully. Microsoft’s ideas page right now looks very similar to its “UserVoice” feedback sites, where users can suggest improvements for most Microsoft products, from Microsoft Windows to Office to the Xbox. They have included taking a small group of journalists (including our own Frederic Lardinois) on a demo that included building an app for the device; a timeline and price ($3,000) for the first developer kits; sending a HoloLens into space for NASA’s use; and working with Volvo on car-buying applications and with Autodesk on industrial design applications.

And Microsoft and Google-backed competitor Magic Leap seem like they are the closest to having the hardware that could fuel that next-generation of computing platforms. As of press time, the very limited feedback has coalesced around ideas like an an augmented piano tutor, a ”real-world” Cortana avatar, and a way of viewing and manipulating 3D charts and graphs in virtual space. Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more »

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